Senior guard Brandon Riley scored a game-high 31 points on "Senior Night", but it wasn't enough as conference rival N.C. A&T State completes a season sweep with a 79-75 victory Saturday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
SC State falls to 5-23 overall, 0-14 in the MEAC, while N.C. A&T State improves to 12-16 overall, 7-6 in the league.
"Bottom line it hurts when you can get production from your bench," said SC State head coach Tim Carter. "Riley can't do it by himself we needed more from other players."
The Aggies jumped out to their biggest lead of the night of the first half eight, 31-23, off a 3-pointer by freshman forward Anthony Estes at the 5:39 mark. Senior forward Joe Ikhinmwin's driving layup with 2:36 left cut the lead to three, 33-30.
Orangeburg native senior guard Jared Williams nailed a 3-pointer with 1:12 left to extend the lead to eight, 41-33. N.C. A&T State led 42-36 at halftime.
The second-half was close throughout with SC State taking a one point lead, 54-53, off a jumper by Riley at the 9:56 mark. A monster dunk by junior forward DaMetrius Upchurch with 7:54 left gave the Aggies a nine point lead, 63-54.
Senior forward Omar Sanders had a chance to even the score with a pair of free-throws, but came up short only hitting 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to pull the Bulldogs within one, 72-71, with 2:23 left in regulation.
N.C. A&T State held on to defeat SC State 79-74 and complete the season sweep of the Bulldogs. Despite, the loss senior Omar Sanders recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds, while teammate junior point guard Khalif Toombs tossed in 14 points along with six assists.
The Aggies had three players in double figures with Austin Witter leading the way with 16 points; DaMetrius Upchurch led the battle in the frontcourt finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Marc Hill added 14 in the victory.
N.C. A&T bench outscored SC State 26-4, while shooting 10-of-14 (71.4%) from behind the 3-point arch on the night.
SC State will return to action on Monday when they will play their final home game against NC Central in a pivotal MEAC doubleheader. Tipoff is 5:30 p.m. for the women, with the men following immediately after.