TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Stillman College men’s basketball team went into halftime of a home game ahead of the winless Fort Valley State by only one point, but stormed out of the locker room with renewed energy and crushed their SIAC conference opponent, 85-65, on Saturday afternoon.
Stillman (6-5, 2-2 SIAC)coach Donte Jackson said the difference in the second half was his team’s defense. Fort Valley’s field goal percentage dropped from 53 percent to 23 percent, and the Tigers forced 12 Wildcat turnovers in the second half.
“(What) we hang our hat on every night is that we’re going to guard,” Jackson said. “We’re going to be the best defensive team on the court each night, and once we figured out who we needed to take away and what we needed to do on the defensive end … we ended up playing pretty well from that point.”
Stillman’s offense also came around in the second half as the defense created opportunities for points off turnovers. The Tigers totaled 31 points off turnovers.
Behind a game-high 21-point performance from Rodnerius Lewis and a 17-point, 12-rebound effort by Markeith Madison, Stillman outscored Fort Valley (0-11, 0-4 SIAC) 49-30 after the break. Lewis scored almost every way possible, including on an emphatic dunk, two 3-pointers, and several jump shots. “I was making my open shots and running my plays and just playing within my offense,” Lewis said.
Stillman’s conference win gives the team six wins this season, all coming at home. Madison said Coach Jackson has a rule about playing at Birthright Alumni Hall.
“We don’t let anyone win in our house,” Madison said. “We just live by that. Anyone coming in our house is going to get our best effort every night.”
Stillman’s next game is Monday at home against Claflin University immediately following the women’s matchup.