Lady Tigers Lose In MEAC Quarter Finals
Jasmine Norman scored 12 points and Ezinne Kalu added 11 but it would not be enough as the Savannah State women’s basketball team lost to eventual champion Hampton in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament semifinals 65-49 on March 14. The score was tied at 25 at the half but the Pirates used a 10-0 run to pull away in the second half. Norman added five steals while Tiyonda Davis grabbed nine rebounds. SSU was slowed by shooting 29.1 percent from the floor. The lady Tigers, who end the season 19-14, reached the semifinals by beating Morgan State82-71 in the opening round on March 10 and Florida A&M 84-75 in the quarterfinals on March 13. Against Morgan State, SSU led 50-34 at the half but saw the Bears string together a 27-7 run to pull within five with 1:29 left. Kalu had 22 points followed by Bria Dorsey’s 20 and Norman’s 19 and 7 rebounds. In the FAMU game, SSU led by 10 at intermission and increased their lead to 20 early in the second period. FAMU got within nine with just over eight minutes left but could get no closer. Norman led four SSU players in double figures with 22 points. Dorsey chipped in 17 with 7 rebounds while Kalu had 15 and 5 assists and Jasmine Kirkland scored 12 points. Davis had nine rebounds. Kalu was named to the all tournament team and was named to the All-MEAC third team.
SSU Men Fall To Norfolk State
Norfolk State broke open a close game with a 13-0 run and went on to knock Savannah State out of the MEAC basketball tournament with a 57- 47 win over the Tigers on March 13. SSU trailed by eight early in the second half but a 3-pointer by Joshua Montgomery sliced their deficit to 33-32 with 12:35 left. The Spartans answered with 13 unanswered points and SSU never got any closer than five points the rest of the way. Jyles Smith led SSU with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 blocks while fellow senior Deven Williams had 10 points. The Tigers opened the tournament on March 10 with a 61-47 victory over South Carolina State. SSU led by four at the half but a 10-0 run gave the Tigers a 50-35 cushion with just under three minutes remaining. SSU got a spark from their bench in the win with Alante Fenner contributing 15 points and 8 rebounds. Terell Hall added 14 points and 4 assists while Jeremiah Hill chipping in 10 points. Smith had 13 rebounds to go with his 8 points and 3 blocks. Smith was named to the All-MEAC third team while Hill was named to the conference All-Rookie squad. The Tigers end their season with a 13-19 record, their first losing season since the 2010-11 campaign.
Wilson Tweak’s Coaching Staff
Savannah State football coach Earnest Wilson III has made a few changes to his coaching staff including the hiring to two new assistant coaches. With the departure of wide receiver coach Chris Buckner and linebacker coach David Roberson, Wilson has hired former Hampton assistants Mike Villagrana and David Banks. Villagrana will coach the SSU wide receivers as well as serves as co-offensive coordinator while Banks will mentor the Tiger quarterbacks. Lawrence Livingston who was the SSU quarterback coach last season will now work with the SSU tight ends and will assist Willard Scissum with the offensive line. The Tigers opened spring drills on March 10 with about 80 players participating. Spring practice will end on April 12.
Tuskegee Advances To Sweet 16
The #8 seed Golden Tigers of Tuskegee defeated the #4 seed Lions of North Alabama, 93-87, in the South Region semifinals of the 2014 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament on March 16. Tuskegee (20-11) used a 20-9 first half run while shooting 53% (20-38) from the field to secure a 50-36 halftime lead. For the game, the Golden Tigers shot 51% (32-63) from the field and 68% (27-40) from the free throw line, while scoring 19 points off 14 North Alabama turnovers. Tuskegee was led by Richard Dixon, who poured in 22 points and six rebounds in a contest that saw 10 of the team’s 12 players score, with six netting double figures. ‘Skegee faced the #3 seeded Statesmen of Delta State University (26-6) on Tuesday, March 18. Senior Elliot Dean scored 31 points in leading Tuskegee to a 98-95 upset win over top-seeded Florida Southern in the South Regional quarterfinals on March 15. Senior Richard Dixon added 23 points off bench.