NORFOLK, Va. – The ninth-seeded South Carolina State Bulldogs men's basketball team came up short once again, dropping a 78-73 decision to top-ranked Norfolk State in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Tournament on Wednesday at the Scope Arena.
“This season has been an up-and-down adventure for this team,” said South Carolina State head coach Murray Garvin. “ We have played 19 games where we came up short by five or less points. I take my hats off to Norfolk State and Coach Jones; they played a great game and came out on top with the win.
“You couldn’t have asked for a better atmosphere. It was great tonight and March Madness was in the air. I would have liked a different outcome on our season, but we have to move forward and prepare for next season. The good thing about this team is that we are only graduating one senior, in (Janai) Raynor-Powell, and everyone returns.”
Four Bulldogs finished in double figures, with junior forward Ian Kinard recording the games only double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Damani Applewhite added 13 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Jahmari Etienne finished with 12 points and Lavar Harewood chipped in 11 points and five rebounds in the loss, respectively.
“I thought the chemistry within our team was there this season and we had the right pieces in place to get it done,” stated Kinard. “I know I don’t want to feel this way ever again, coming up short of a championship.”
South Carolina State led 39-31 at the half.
Despite a total of 16 turnovers, the Bulldog led in several categories in including rebounding (36-32), points in the paint (26-22) and bench points (24-13). The game produced nine (9) lead changes and was tied eight (8) times throughout.
The Spartans were led by Nic Thomas with a game-high 30 points and Mastadi Pitt with 17 points in the win. NSU improved to 20-12 on the season and will take on the winner between No. 5 Bethune-Cookman and No. 4 Howard on Friday in the semifinals at 6 p.m.
For more information on South Carolina State Athletics visit www.scsuathletics.com.