No. 3 South Carolina State 90, No. 11 Coppin State 80
NORFOLK, Va. – Fans came into Scope Arena on Thursday evening expecting to see a quarterfinal matchup during the 2016 MEAC Men’s Basketball Tournament. No. 3 seed South Carolina State decided it was time for a track meet instead.
The Bulldogs scored transition bucket after transition bucket in a wild first half on the way to a 90-80 victory over No. 11-seed Coppin State in the first of two quarterfinals on the night.
S.C. State advanced to play No. 2-seed Norfolk State on Friday in the second semifinal game of the evening session. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B01CEQL2L8″ locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
The Bulldogs scored 59 points in the first half, shooting better than 62-percent and going up by as much as 25 with five and a half minutes left before the intermission. S.C. State weathered a Coppin State run late in the second half to improve to 18-13 overall while scoring 90 points for the fifth time this season.
Eric Eaves was one of five players in double figures for the Bulldogs, tallying 21 points on 6-of-14 shooting with eight rebounds. Tashombe Riley shot 9-of-15 from the field and finished with 18 points and eight boards as well.
For how well S.C. State played, leading by 16 at the half and 20 early in the second stanza, Coppin State (9-22) played just as well in a much slower paced second half. The Eagles got a stronger second-half defensive effort, especially in transition, in holding the Bulldogs to 32-percent shooting and getting to within six late in the game.
CSU used an early 8-0 run in the second half to cut the deficit to a more manageable 12 points. After S.C. State responded with a 9-2 run to push the lead back to 19 with 11:37 left, the Eagles began to chip away.
Blake Simpson’s 3-point play at 8:35 capped a short 8-0 run for Coppin State and made it 75-65. Three and a half minutes later, a dunk by Terry Harris and a trey from Josh Treadwell on back-to-back possessions sliced the Bulldog lead to seven, 79-72, the first single-digit lead since the first five minutes of the contest.
After Eaves made two from the charity stripe, Treadwell sank another 3-pointer for an 81-75 score. S.C. State, however, scored the next nine points in the game to ice it away.
Gabriel McCray and Greg Mortimer each finished with 13 points for South Carolina State, which shot 32-of-65 for the game (49.2-percent).
Eaves had 15 of his 21 points in the first half, helping the Bulldogs shoot 23-of-37, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range. They outscored CSU on the night in points in the paint, 38-26.
Treadwell led all players with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Christian Kessee (13 points) and Keith Shivers (11) also scored in double figures, while Simpson just missed out on a double-double with eight points, 11 boards and a game-high four blocks.
Ed Stephens added 10 points and four assists for the Bulldogs.
CSU shot 28-of-67 overall (41.8-percent) and 8-of-25 from 3-point range.
The teams combined for just 15 turnovers.
No. 5 Savannah State 57, No. 4 Bethune-Cookman 50
NORFOLK, Va.– Points were at a premium in Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup between No. 4 Bethune-Cookman and No. 5 Savannah State, but intensity was not. Despite trailing late, the Tigers won 57-50.
The Wildcats led 50-48 with three minutes left, before both teams went cold. But Javaris Jenkins nailed a three from the corner to put the Tigers (16-14) up 51-50 with 51 seconds remaining. After Bethune-Cookman came up empty on the other end, Khalen Pinkett hit the dagger with 28 seconds left, putting the Tigers up 54-50.
Savannah State will face top-seeded Hampton in Friday’s semifinal at 6 p.m.
Scoring was so tough on Thursday that Savannah State’s leading scorer – Jenkins – had 12 points. Christopher Martin, with 10 points, was the only other Tiger in double figures. Savannah State shot just 31-percent from the floor, but it was five percentage points better than Bethune-Cookman. [easyazon_infoblock align=”right” cart=”y” identifier=”B00Q0D2C3Y” locale=”US” tag=”hbcusports-20″]
Savannah State led 30-20 at the half, overcoming a slow start to seemingly take control of the game. In fact, the Tigers led 34-23 with 15:12 left to play, but the Wildcats began chipping away at the lead to the tune of an 18-4 run that saw them take a 41-38 lead with 7:54 left after a Mario Moody free throw.
Pinkett cut the lead to one with a jumper with 6:34 left, but Bethune-Cookman again ran out to a larger lead, going up 48-42 with 5:29 remaining on another Moody free throw.
Martin hit two free-throws with 3:48 left to tie the game at 48-all, before the Wildcats picked up two free-throws of their own to take the aforementioned 50-48 lead.
A combined 46 fouls were called in the game, 29 of which came in the second half. Savannah State was 76-percent from the free throw line, hitting 19-of-25 shots, while Bethune-Cookman went 20-for-27 (74.1-percent) from the charity stripe.
The Wildcats struggled from deep, hitting just four 3-pointers, and the Tigers hit eight of their 18.
Moody led the Wildcats (14-18) with a game-high 14 points and 13 rebounds.