Senior guard James "JJ" Richardson poured in a game-high 20 points, while sophomore forward Damani Applewhite chipped in 19 and six rebounds, but it wasn't enough as Bethune-Cookman rallied to defeat SC State, 86-80, Wednesday (Jan. 3rd) at Moore Gymnasium.
Senior guard Donte Wright finished with 14 points and six rebounds, while Patrell Rogers added 10 in the loss. Junior guard Janai Raynor-Powell put together a solid performance with a game-high nine assist, seven rebounds and four points.
"We keep hitting stretches in games where I feel that we panic and start taking ill-advised shots and it catches up with us, "said head coach Murray Garvin. For 35 minutes I felt we played good enough to win the game."
South Carolina State pretty much controlled the first-half leading 47-37 during intermission
A jumper by freshman guard Rayshawn Neal gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the of the second-half 12, 58-46, at the 15:36 mark. The Wildcats sparked a 16-2 run off a tip-in by Soufiyane Diakite with 9:30 remaining to give BC-U the lead 62-60.
Richardson's jumper pulled the Bulldogs within four, 79-75, with 2:13 left in regulation. BC-U tossed in key free-throws down the stretch to hold on to capture their first conference.
Brandon Tabb scored 15 points, and Malik Maitland had 15 points and 11 assists for Bethune-Cookman, which snapped a four-game losing skid. Diakite added nine points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Garvin stated, "What is most important is that we don't let one loss turn into two. We will learn from this first MEAC road game and improve before we face Delaware State on Saturday, if weather permits."