Tigers Fall To 1-4
The Savannah State men’s basketball team fell to 1-4 on the season after recent losses to Central State and Claflin.
Central State defeated the Tigers 85-68 in Tiger Arena on December 2 while Claflin downed SSU 94-67 on Dec. 6 in the Tigers first road game of the season.
Against CSU, Savannah State dug themselves a early hole, getting down 17-6. SSU trailed by as many as a dozen in the first period before cutting their deficit to 36-31 late in the half.
Midway in the second half, the visitors from Wilberforce, Ohio had built themselves a 24 point lead and expanded it to 81-55 with just under three minutes left. SSU then reeled off a 13-1 run to get within 82-68 but would get no closer. Rico Bonds had 17 points and 8 rebounds for SSU while Avery Joyner scored 14 points and Amaru Bryant chipped in 11 points.
Against Claflin, SSU trailed 17-16 with 12:40 showing on the clock and then the wheels came off as Claflin went on a 18-0 run and never looked back. The Panthers led by as many as 25 in the first half and held a 51-32 edge at the break. SSU trailed by as many as 35 in the non-conference contest but finished the game with a 10-2 run. Bonds led the Tigers with 25 points while Marcus Scott came off the bench to score 15 points.
SSU Women Beat Central State
Savannah State held Central State without a field goal the final three minutes of the game and held on to defeat the Marauders 69- 65 in a game played at Tiger Arena on December 2.
A pair of free throws by Brooke Spaulding with 59 seconds left gave CSU a 65-64 lead but Savannah State answered with layups by Azhana Maxwell and Amari Heard and a free throw from Joan Messina to get the win to improve to 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the SIAC. CSU jumped out to a 24-19 lead in the first quarter and led 38-36 at the half. Savannah State outscored the Marauders 18-6 in the third quarter to take a 54-44 lead. Central State trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter before mounting a 17-5 run to tie the score at 61 apiece with 4:23 left. Le’Andrea Gillis led SSU with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals while Maxwell added 17 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Ta’Kyla Austin chipped in 14 points for the winners.
Leary Named Player of the Year
Savannah native Jalen Leary was recently named the Pioneer Football League Freshman Offensive Player of the Year.
During the 2019 season, Leary broke the Stetson single-season rushing mark for the modern era this year and became the first Hatter since the program restarted in 2013 to surpass the 1,000-yard mark for rushing yards in a season. The son of Jason and Shericka Leary finished the season with 1,013 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. The Calvary Day grad ran for a school record 220 yards in a win over Dayton this season.
Albany State Hires New AD
Albany State President Marion Ross Fedrick has announced the selection of Tony Duckworth as Athletics Director/Chief Athletics Administrator. The appointment is effective January 2, 2020. Duckworth takes over for Jackie Nicholson, who has served as interim athletic director after the departure of Sherie Gordon in June 2019.
Prior to his appointment, Duckworth served as Director of Athletics and Chief Athletics Officer at Northeastern State in Tahlequah, Oklahoma since 2011. He led the final year of transition into the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.. Duckworth led multiple capital improvements at NSU, including the $18 million event center, a turf and video board replacement and a stadium sports medicine center and locker room renovation.
Additionally, Duckworth has served as Director of Athletics at Maryville, where he led Maryville through a significant transition as the university reclassified from Division III to Division II.