Junior center Matthew Hezekiah's tip-in layup with 0:01 seconds left on the clock gave SC State 74-72 nail-biting victory over Jacksonville, Wednesday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
Junior college transfer Adama "Louie" Adams (6-1, 170) led the Bulldogs with a game-high 16 points, while Hezekiah (6-11, 235) finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and six blocks on the night. Freshman guard Patrick Myers (6-2, 175) added 15 points and six rebounds, while teammate Darryl Palmer (6-7, 190) chipped in 12 points and four blocks in the win.
"We made a lot of mental mistakes down the stretch that could have cost us the game," said SC State head coach Tim Carter. "I had to play more of the young guys in the rotation tonight and its a few adjustments we need to correct before we get into conference play."
South Carolina State jumped out quick an eight point lead, 17-9 off a jumper by Myers at the 13:49 mark in the first half. A jumper by Adams extended the lead to 13, 25-12 with 9:26 remaining. A layup by freshman forward Kordario Fleming (6-6, 210) cut the Bulldogs lead to seven, 27-20 with 6:53 left in the half.
Senior guard Khalif Toombs (5-9, 160) led the charge with back-to-back assists to Palmer and Hezekiah, which led to layups to give SC State their biggest lead of the first-half 15, 35-20 with 4:49 remaining. Fleming tossed in a pair of free-throws with 2:18 left to cut the lead to 13, 39-26. The Bulldogs kept the charge alive on of a 3-pointer by reserve forward Chasen Campbell (6-8, 270) with 1:56 left in the half to push the lead to 16, 42-26. Adam's 3-pointer at the 1:04 mark put SC State ahead 45-28.
The Dolphins closed out the first-half off a tip-in by JUCO transfer forward Javon Dawson(6-6, 260) to cut the lead to 15, 45-30.
Jacksonville opened up the second-half with a tip-in by senior forward Glenn Powell (6-5, 200), followed by a layup by guard Russell Powell (5-9, 150) to cut the lead to 11, 47-36 at the 17:16 mark. Campbell connected on his second 3-pointer of the night to give SC State a 16-point advantage, 52-36 with 15:21 left.
A missed 3-pointer by junior forward Dylan Fritsch (6-5, 170) resulted in an offensive rebound by freshman center Tyler Alderman (6-9, 235) and foul with 7:50 remaining. Alderman knocked down both free-throws to cut SC State lead to single digits nine, 58-49.
The Bulldogs looked as though they would pull away on a Palmer layup with 1:40 remaining in regulation to give SC State an 11-point lead, 70-59. The Dolphins sparked a 13-2 run with less than 1:02 seconds left hitting three straight 3-pointers, with Fritsch nailing two and Dawson hitting another to tie the game 72-72 with 0:31 seconds left in the game.
SC State had one last chance to seal the win when Adams missed a driving layup with 0:05 seconds left, but Hezekiah tip-in with 0:01 second remaining gave the Bulldogs a 74-72 win over the Dolphins.
Despite, 20 turnovers and Jacksonville out-rebounding SC State 35-31, the Bulldogs shot 68.8% from the free-throw line hold on to the victory.
Carter stated, "We gave up a lot of miss opportunities down the stretch but we were fortunate to come away with a home win."
Toombs finished with a game-high 10 assist and eight points, while sophomore forward Luka Radovic grabbed six rebounds and scored four points. Jacksonville was led by Fritsch with a team-high 14 points, while connecting on four 3-pointers. Teammates Jarvis Haywood and Kordario Fleming each chipped in 13 in the loss.
South Carolina State improves to 4-3 on the season, while Jacksonville falls to 3-5 overall.
SC State will play its final home game of 2012 on Monday against MEAC rival Norfolk State in an doubleheader before embarking on eight straight road games, including five "guaranteed" games against Upper Division I foes Maryland (Dec. 8), Missouri (Dec. 17), Iowa (Dec. 19), Clemson (Dec. 23) and South Carolina (Jan. 5).