Tigers Enter MEAC Tourney As Top Seed
In their inaugural season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, the Savannah State’s men’s basketball team will enter the tournament as the number one seed. The Tigers posted a 14- 2 league record and finished the regular season 21-10.
SLOW START, FAST FINISH
After starting the season with a 1-5 record, SSU bounced back to win four of their last seven to close out the 2011 portion of their season with a 5-8 mark. The Tigers opened 2012 with a loss at Arkansas but went on to win three straight before a 68-62 setback at Bethune- Cookman on January 16. That would be their last loss as SSU has reeled off 13 consecutive wins starting with an 83-53 pounding of South Carolina State in Tiger Arena on January 21.
ALONG THE WAY
While on their 13-game tear, Arnold Louis had four consecutive double-doubles, Deric Rudolph hit eight 3- pointers against South Carolina State which tied the school record set by Steve Kelly during the 1987-88 season, broke the school record of made 3-pointers in a season. Chad Faulker made 70 3-pointers during the 190-91 season and that mark was broken last year by Jovonni Shuler who hit 77 3-pointers. Jyles Smith was selected as MEAC Defensive Player of the Week for the week beginning February 20.
As a team, SSU is averaging 64 points while giving up 59. The Tigers have outrebounded their opponents 35.7 to 31.3 per game. Individually, Rashad Hassan and Rudolph have been the
inside-outside combination that have led the way averaging 12.7 and 10.8 points per game respectively. Louis scores 9.4 per night and Preston Blackmon has contributed 8.8 points a game. Arnold grabs 7.9 rebounds a game while Hassan averages 5.1. Blackmon dishes out 5.1 assists per game and Smith has 60 blocks, 13 shy of the school record of 73 he set last season.
Then athletics director Tony O’Neal fired Ed Daniels after SSU finished the 2004- 05 winless at 0-28. O’Neal hired Broadnax , who was practicing law, April 11, 2005. The team lost 28 games in Broadnax’s first season but managed to win two games. The team has made steady progress under Broadnax and his decision to red-shirt Louis and Hassan last year may have drawn some criticism, but looks like it was the right choice.
JOB WELL DONE
For their efforts during the regualar season, Broadnax, Rudolph and Hassan have been honored for their hard work. Broadnax was named MEAC Coach of the Year while Rudolph and Hassan were named the All-MEAC second team. For the SSU women, Ezinne Kalu was named to the All-MEAC second team.
Savannah State will receive irst round by and will play
the winner of the Hampton- Morgan State game on March 6. SSU defeated both schools during the regular season. The Tigers could possible play third-seeded Delaware State in the finals. Funny thing is that the teams never played each other during the regular season.
LESS WE FORGET
Before there was Horace Broadnax roaming the Savannah State sidelines, there were other coaches that brought home basketball hardware. Arthur Dwight, John Myles, Theodore “Ted” Wright, Leo Richardson and Russell Ellington all won conference titles while serving as head basketball coach for the Orange & Blue. Ellington’s 1980-81 squad won 15 straight, went 13-0 at home and was one game short of playing in the Division III Final Four after a one-point loss to Otterbein and finished with a 25-4 record.
LADY TIGERS DRAW NO. 11 SEED
The Savannah State women’s basketball team entered the MEAC tournament with a 10-19 overall record after going 3-11 in conference action. SSU lost 6 of their last 7. The Lady Tigers played Maryland- Eastern Shore in the opening round on March 5 and the winner will play no. 3 seed Florida A&M. Kalu is SSU’s top playmaker averaging 17.8 points, 2.8 steals and 2.8 assists. Jasmine Kirkland averages 8.9 points while Alisha Nelson contributes 7.2 rebounds and 3 blocks a game. SSU went 1-13 on the road this season and 0-8 against MEAC teams