SSU Slows Down B-CU 43-40
SAVANNAH, Ga. - Bethune-Cookman recovered from a 12-point first half to take the lead, but Savannah State rallied to take a 43-40 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference victory televised by ESPNU.
Preston Blackman made two free throws with two seconds left to help ensure the Tiger (10-9 overall, 4-1 MEAC) after the Wildcats erased a 21-12 halftime lead.
Adrien Coleman's layup put Bethune-Cookman ahead 29-28 with 11:09 left, then the Wildcats opened up a five-point lead on three occasions, the last at 36-31 on an Alex Smith jumper with 6:31 remanining.
The Tigers' Arnold Louis took back the lead, 37-36, with a layup with 4:57 left, and then snapped a 37-37 tie with a layup with 3:48 remaining.
Coleman responded with a free throw, then Louis made two foul shots.
Coleman's layup pulled the Wildcats within 41-40 with 26 seconds left, but then Blackman hit his free throws for the final, three-point edge.
Louis led the Tigers with 13 points with 11 rebounds.
Coleman paced the Wildcats with 16 points and eight rebounds. Javoris Bryant, Ricky Johnson and Kevin Dukes each scored five for B-CU. Dukes registered his 1,000th career point, fittingly, on a three-pointer with 14:14 to play.
B-CU hosts Delaware State Saturday at 4 p.m.
HEAD COACH GRAVELLE CRAIG
"You can't get the morale victory because we should have won the game. You have to make free throws and not give up turnovers down the stretch. You have to be able to step up."
On the improved offense in the second half:
"We got more aggressive in the second half. We were settling for jump shots and letting them take us out of our rhythm."
On losing another close game:
"We have to keep working. We've had good looks. We'll come up with a solution."
On staying in the MEAC championship race:
"Six of the next eight games are at home. If we take care of home and split on the road, we're in good shape come tournament time."
NOTES: The 12 point first-half was B-CU's third lowest offensive in the shot clock era ... Savannah State's 43 points were the lowest for a Wildcat opponent since the 2008-09 SSU team only scored 29 in a 55-29 B-CU victory ... B-CU now 0-3 this season in games decided by five points or less ... Coleman has led the team in scoring 14 times and rebounding 10 times this season.