Senior Dana Tate Jr. had a team-high 15 points to lead the Norfolk State men’s basketball team to a 63-59 win over South Carolina State on Saturday evening.
The win clinches at least a share of the MEAC regular season title as the Spartans are now 10-2 in the conference. A win in either of the final two games will give NSU the No. 1 seed in the upcoming MEAC Tournament.
Tate was one of three Spartans in double figures as both seniors Joe Bryant Jr. and Kris Bankston each reached 10 with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
NSU scored the first points of the game with a layup by Bankston and never trailed the entire game. A pair of free-throws by Antonio Madlock tied the score up at 18:45 in the first half but NSU scored the next eight points to take a 10-2 lead with 14:33 left in the half. The Bulldogs responded with their own 8-0 run to tie the score up.
The exchanging of runs happened again with NSU taking a 6-0 stretch to lead 16-10. Following a three-pointer by Madlock, the Spartans went on a 16-0 run that didn’t end until SCSU hit a free throw by Rahsaan Edwards with just 1:33 left before the break. Extending their lead briefly to 20 points, the Spartans settled for a 16-point lead at intermission.
The Bulldogs only made five field goals in the first half compared to 14 for NSU.
The second half was a much different ball game as SCSU outscored the Spartans 41-29 in the period and on several occasions had opportunities to tie and take the lead, but the NSU defense came up big with steals and blocks and key defensive rebounds to keep the visitors at bay.
With 11:09 left in the game, the Bulldogs got within 43-42 on a layup by Edward Oliver-Hampton, the closest SCSU had been since it was 10-10 in the first half. Neither team scored another field goal for over two minutes before Bryant hit a jump floater in the paint with 8:58 left to push the Spartan lead back to four, 46-42.
Bryant would hit two free throws at 6:58 to give NSU some cushion on the scoreboard, 50-44, however the Spartans were called for fouls on back-to-back three-point attempts by SCSU and the Bulldogs went 5-for-6 from the charity stripe to pull within three. A missed shot by Edwards with just nine seconds left and the Spartans up five saw junior Tyrese Jenkins snag the rebound and Madlock immediately fouled. Jenkins sank both free-throws and the Bulldogs hit a desperation three with just two seconds left, but NSU came away with the four-point win.
Tate nearly had a double-double but finish with his 15 points and nine rebounds. Junior Daryl Anderson had a game and career-high five blocks on the night to go along with his four rebounds. Madlock had a game-high 17 points and Omar Croskey had 15 for SCSU.
Courtesy: Norfolk State Athletics