MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The South Carolina State men's basketball team will open the 2019-20 season on the road when the Bulldogs travel to No. 14 Memphis, Tuesday (Nov. 5th) in an 7 p.m. (CT)/8 p.m. (ET) contest at FedEx Forum. The game will be televised live on ESPN3.
"People often ask what the benefit is of playing the schedule we often play my answer is always the same, we see it as a great opportunity for our program. We have worked extremely hard this off season and we look forward to the chance to compete against a nationally ranked program like Memphis."
The Tigers, ranked 14th in the Associated Press Preseason Top 25 rankings, debuts the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation. The Bulldogs picked 5th in the MEAC Preseason poll return a veteran team this season that welcome back nine letter winners.
A look at the Bulldogs
Senior forward Damani Applewhite was named Preseason All-MEAC First Team, voted on by the coaches and sports information directors. Applewhite averaged 16.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last season, while earning All-MEAC Third Team honors.
Leading the way for the returners along with Applewhite will be senior forwards Ian Kinard (7.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Ozante Fields (8.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg), David Bottenberg (2.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg), and Armani Hill (4.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg). Redshirt senior guard's Jahmari Etienne (8.5 ppg) and Rayshawn Neal (7.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg) will add that much needed veteran experience to a talented backcourt for the Bulldogs.
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Coach Murray Garvin who is entering his eighth season at the helm, added several newcomers to this year's squad including transfer Zach Sellers, Isaiah Felder from Savannah State, former All-MEAC performer Tashombe Riley who transferred from South Alabama will add more depth to the frontcourt.
Riley who missed the last two seasons due to injury returns back to South Carolina State for his final year of eligibility.A few more additions to the Bulldog basketball team are former Citadel standout and South Carolina native Tariq Simmons from Panola College, Elafayette Stone out of Northern Oklahoma CC, Trushaun Moorer (Clinton College) and Quamain Nelson out of John A. Logan College rounds out transfer—along with new freshman Omar Croskey (Sumter HS) and Rahsaan Edwards (Hagerstown, MD/St. Maria Goretti HS).
Memphis finished 22-14 last year, Hardaway's first as head coach at his alma mater. Memphis participated preseason play in the in The Bahamas, the Tigers went unbeaten in four games, but played without top recruits James Wiseman and Precious Achiuwa, who were unavailable for different reasons.
D.J. Jeffries, a 6-foot-7 freshman from Olive Branch, Miss., led the team in scoring and rebounding with 18.5 points and 9.2 rebounds. Returnees Alex Lomax, Tyler Harris and Isaiah Maurice had solid efforts in The Bahamas. Lomax averaged 9.5 points and 4 steals; Harris averaged 15.2 points; and Maurice averaged 8.8 points and 6 rebounds. Others in the No. 1 recruting class making their debuts will be guards Damion Baugh, Boogie Ellis and Lester Quinones. Center Malcolm Dandridge, recovering from injury.
South Carolina State returns home to host Bob Jones on Friday in a non-conference matchup at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center. Tip-off is 7 p.m.