NORFOLK, VA. — The 9th-seeded Bulldogs of South Carolina State University advanced to the quarterfinal round of the 2019 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament with a 63-54 victory over 8th-seeded Maryland Eastern Shore on Tuesday at the Scope Arena.
Virginia Beach native, and senior point guard, Janai Raynor-Powell led the Bulldogs with a team-high 15 points and five assists, along Damani Applewhite's double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.
For the Bulldogs, junior guard Jahmari Etienne added 10 points, while sophomore guard Rayshawn Neal and junior forward Ozante Fields added nine points each.
“First I would like to give Maryland Eastern Shore credit for a hard-fought battle tonight,” S.C. State head coach Murray Garvin said. "The win wasn’t pretty, but we will take it any day.
"I am proud of the way my guys held their composure down the stretch and didn’t let turnovers change the motion of the game.”
SC State dominated the first half, leading 38-22 at halftime.
The Bulldogs built their largest lead of the night (19 points) off a 3-pointer by freshman guard Allen Hatchett Jr. at the 19:04 mark.
UMES sparked a late rally to cut the lead and pull within four off a 3-pointer by senior guard Ryan Andino with 5:18 remaining. The Bulldogs were too much down the stretch, converting on 7 straight free throws to extend the lead to 9 points with 25 seconds remaining.
Despite committing 15 turnovers, SC State held on for the 9-point victory to advance to the next round.
UMES was led by Bryan Urrutia with a team-high 14 points and six rebounds, while teammate Issac Taylor added 12 points in the loss. All-MEAC performer Andino was limited to just 9 points in the loss. Andino shot 3-of-16 from 3-point range.
“This is a good win for our program and our guys this evening," Garvin said. "We won’t have time to sit around; we have to prepare for a very good Norfolk State Spartan team tomorrow.
"It will be a like a home game for them, so the atmosphere will be crazy."
The No. 9 Bulldogs face top-seeded Norfolk State at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the MEAC Tournament.