SSU Football Starts Spring Practice
Dressed in practice jerseys and shorts with no pads, the Savannah State football team opened their 2020 spring practice season on February 17 with an eye towards their second season of competition within the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and the crown that awaits their efforts.
The Tigers have 15 practice dates that will culminate on March 11 with the annual Blue & Orange Scrimmage. For the first two practices, the team had no contact and workout in shorts. On Feb. 21, the Tigers strapped on full pads and had contact without tackling. The team put on full pads and had full contact on Feb. 24.
Among the nearly 80 players participating in spring drills are a trio of players who enrolled in school in January- Jamir Best, Cameron Brown and Antonio McKnight.
Best comes to SSU from Austin Peay State, Brown has transferred in from Georgia Military while McKnight is a early enrollee from CE Murray High School in Greeleyville, South Carolina.
Best (6-2, 270) is a defensive lineman from Fort Valley while Brown (5-11, 260) is a offensive lineman from Milledgeville. McKnight (6-2, 185) plays quarterback.
Benedict Hires Berry As Football Coach
Benedict College has hired Savannah State alumnus Chennis Berry as their new head football coach. Berry comes to Benedict after serving as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Southern University (2013- 19).
Berry’s coaching resume also includes stops at Howard (2011-12), North Carolina A&T (2009-10 & 2003-05), Morgan State (2006-08), Fort Valley State (2001-02), Kentucky State (1997-2000) and Morris Brown (1996), while also serving internships with six different NFL teams. Berry was a student assistant at SSU during the 1995 season, working with the offensive line.
The Cleveland, Ohio native holds a master’s degree in public administration from Kentucky State University and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Savannah State. As a player at SSU, he earned First Team All-SIAC honors at offensive tackle and was named Black College All-American Honorable Mention in 1994. He also served as Savannah State’s team captain.
Lady Tigers Clobber FVSU
Playing with just seven players, the Savannah State women’s basketball team finished their regular season with a 83-67 win over visiting Fort Valley State in Tiger Arena on February 22. Azhana Maxwell came off the bench to lead five SSU players in double figures with 21 points. She also had nine rebounds and four steals. Amari Heard had 13 points, Ta’Kyla Austin had 12, Le’Andrea Gillis scored 11 and Robbi Allen chipped in 10.
SSU defeated Clark Atlanta 80-77 in Tiger Arena on Feb. 20. CAU led 77-73 with 2:07 left in the fourth quarter. Austin hit a jumper and added two free throws to tie the game with 1:26 left. Heard added a free throw with 26 seconds left and SSU sealed the win with two free throws by Maxwell with 21 seconds showing. Maxwell scored 24 points in the game followed by Austin (16), Heard (15) and Allen (10).
Savannah State dropped a 72-57 decision on the road at Benedict on Feb. 17. SSU led 18-15 after one quarter of play but were outscored 14-2 in the second quarter. Gillis had 19 points and eight rebounds for SSU, Austin scored 14 and Allen contributed 12 points in the loss. SSU ends the regular season with a 15-7 overall record and a 10-7 mark in the SIAC.
SSU Men Upend Benedict
With leading scorer Rico Bonds out because of a injury, freshman guard Avery Joyner has stepped into the starting role as has not disappointed Savannah State basketball fans. in SSU’s 64-62 road win over Benedict on February 17, Joyner led the Tigers with 18 points. A dunk by Joyner gave SSU a eight point cushion with 3:49 left but Benedict went on a 11-2 run to take a 60-59 lead at the one minute mark. Trey Deloach hit a 3-pointer to put Savannah State ahead 62-60 and Marcus Scott followed that with a pair of free throws. Zion Williams scored 14 points, Deloach added 13 and Andrew Okorodudu pulled down 13 rebounds.
Former Los Angeles Lakers guard George Lynch and his Clark Atlanta Panthers came to Savannah on Feb. 20 and left with a 69-61 win over Savannah State. SSU trailed by four with just under seven minutes remaining but CAU strung together a 8-0 run to go ahead by 12. Savannah State could get no closer than seven the rest of the evening. Scott had 18 for SSU followed by Deloach (15) and Joyner (13).
Savannah State finished the regular season with a hard fought 64-59 home win over rival Fort Valley State on Feb. 22. SSU held the Wildcats scoreless for the final three minutes of the game as they overcame a seven point deficit. Joyner led all scorers with 23 points while Scott had 19 and Williams scored 12. Okorodudu had 12 rebounds and Zion Henderson grabbed 10 rebounds as SSU improved to 10-12 overall and 10-9 in conference play.