The South Carolina State Bulldogs suffered yet another setback, dropping a tough 60-52 defeat to the Wildcats of Bethune-Cookman Saturday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
SC State falls to 4-13 overall 0-4 in the MEAC, while Bethune-Cookman improves to 7-12 overall, 2-2 in the league. Senior guard Khalif Toombs led the Bulldogs with a team-high 16 points, five rebounds and six assists in the loss. Meanwhile, freshman forward Darryl Palmer grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and tossed in eight points.
"When you are young as we are at the wing spot it's hard to knock down good shots," said SC State head coach Tim Carter. "It deflates you because we were close in every category, but they were a lot more aggressive than we were down the stretch."
It was a tug of war early on with five ties throughout the first-half. Junior guard Adama "Louis" Adams put SC State head two, 22-20 on a driving layup with at the 4:06 mark. Adams would then leave the game after suffering a high ankle sprain, which would sideline him for the remainder of the night.
Junior guard Adrien Coleman closed out the half tossed in a free-throw and nailing a jumper with 0:02 seconds remaining to push the Wildcats ahead, 26-24. Bethune-Cookman closed out the first-half with a 26-24 lead over South Carolina State.
The Wildcats opened up the second-half on fire sparking an 17-9 run off on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Ricky Johnson, while closing out with a monster dunk senior forward Alex Smith to push the lead to 10, 33-43 at the 12:43 mark.
SC State narrowed the margin cutting the lead to two, 49-47 off a jumper by freshman guard Patrick Myers with 4:14 remaining. The Wildcats responded off a 3-pointer by senior guard Kevin Dukes with 1:56 left to seal the victory.
Carter stated, "We have to be steadier on offense in our back court offense."
Bethune-Cookman was led by junior forward Adrien Coleman with a game-high 17 points, while teammate Kevin Dukes added 15 in the victory. Sophomore guard Ricky Johnson finished with a team-high 11 rebounds.
South Carolina State returns to action on Monday when they host MEAC foe Florida A&M in a crucial league doubleheader. Tip-off is 5:30 for the women, with the men beginning immediately afterwards.