ORANGEBURG, SC - South Carolina State had five players in double figures, led by Eric Eaves' 23 points, however, it was not enough as visiting Savannah State used long-range shooting to hold off the Bulldogs 86-82 in a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference game Monday night.
Tashombe Riley added 13 points, reserve Raynor Powell came off the bench for 12 and Ed Stephens and Greg Mortimer chipped in 10 each for Coach Murray Garvin's team which fell to 4-12 and 1-2 in the league.
Troy Manassa tossed in 24 points on 9-18 shooting from the field, including a 6-9 effort from behind the arc, to lead the Tigers, who had four players reach double figures. Austin Dasent contributed 13 points, Robert Kelly 11, along with a game-high eight rebounds, and Joshua Floyd 10 points in the win, which lifted the visitors to 6-12 and 3-2 in the MEAC.
SC State stayed connected to the hot-shooting Tigers throughout the contest but could not match Savannah State's three-point shooting, especially late in the contest. The Tigers, who shot just under 50 percent from the field, connected on16-36 three-point attempts for a 44.4 percent accuracy from long range. Savannah State was 30-61 overall. The Bulldogs were 30-64 from the field -- almost 48 percent -- but made just 10-30 of their three-point attempts.4
"Their 3-point shooting was the difference," said Garvin. "We knew they would put up a lot of them (3-pointers) as they had attempted 40 earlier in a game. They put up 36 tonight and made 16. But despite their hot shooting, we still have a chance to win the game, and that's most disappointing that we did not.
"There were several opportunities, 8-10 times, when we had possession with a chance to tie the game or take the lead, but we failed to do so. They made the plays down the stretch and we didn't. The rode on the back of Masassa late and he delivered for them.
"But, I saw some positives. Raynor Powell played 31 minutes for us, had 12 points and three assists and the four turnovers are not indicative of how well he played. And, we continue to get some productive minutes out of two of our young players, (Damani) Applewhite and (Ozante) Fields. But as a staff, we need to find a way to get Stephens going. He can't go 3-12 – and most of his attempts were good shots – and us win."
The Tigers led 44-42 at the half and used a 14-8 run, fueled by four 3-pointers, to start the final stanza to go ahead 58-50 with 15:13 left. The Bulldogs battled back to grab a 68-66 advantage on Powell's 3-pointer with 8:12 on the clock.
But the visitors tied it quickly on a Dasent inside basket seconds later and went ahead 71-68 on a three-point play by Maricus Glenn with 7:19 left. The Bulldogs got to within two twice, the last time, 74-72 on two Mortimer free throws with 4:06 on the clock but could get no closer.
The Bulldogs return to the court Saturday, when they host Delaware State in the second game of an MEAC doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m.