Hot-Shooting Savannah State Holds off Men's Basketball
The Eagles travel to No. 7/5 Duke Dec. 15
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Christopher Martin scored a game-high 18 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to lead Savannah State to a 76-67 men's basketball victory over Georgia Southern Wednesday night in Tiger Arena.
Martin's triple, a 28-footer from the wing as the shot clock hit zero, came a possession after the Eagles used a 12-1 run to open a brief 61-60 lead with under five minutes to go and sparked a 7-1 run for Savannah State. A Mike Hughes 3-pointer from the wing cut the lead to 67-65 with 2:22 remaining, but Troyce Manassa got on off-balanced runner on the Tigers next trip down the floor to extend the margin to 69-65.
Tookie Brown almost had a chance to tie it with a rare four-point play, when he was fouled on a 3-point attempt from the top of the key. The freshman's shot rimmed out, and he made 2 of 3 from the charity stripe to make it a two point game with 51 seconds left.
The Eagles forced the Tigers to take the shot clock down again, and this time Casey Wells got some help from the glass, banking home a 3-pointer with 25 seconds to play and extending the lead back to five. Brown tried to get to the rim on the Eagles' next possession but missed, and Georgia Southern was forced to foul. Javaris Jenkins hit two free throws with 16 seconds left to ice the win.
Brown finished with 13 points, and Ike Smith tallied 13 points and seven rebounds for Georgia Southern (3-4). Jason Burnell posted nine points, three rebounds and two blocked shots.
Manassa finished with 16 points and five boards for Savannah State (4-4), and Jenkins posted 12 points and five rebounds. Kamil Williams scored 10 points off the bench.
Martin and Williams each hit triples in a 9-2 Savannah State run that opened up a 10-point cushion for the Tigers. Trailing 59-49, Georgia Southern outscored the Tigers 12-1 over the next 3:30 and took a brief 61-60 lead on a conventional 3-point play by Smith with 4:43 to play. Montae Glenn and Brown each scored four points during the stretch. Martin answered with the 28-foot triple to put the Tigers back on top for good. Savannah State shot 53 percent from the floor for the game and canned 10 of 18 from 3-point range. The Eagles outscored the Tigers by five points at the charity stripe and scored 16 second-chance points off of 17 offensive rebounds. Savannah State connected on 13 of 19 from the floor in the first half and hit 5 of 8 from 3-point range to build a 37-32 lead. The Eagles used an 11-2 edge on the offensive glass and nine second-chance points and made 8 of 10 free throws to stay within striking distance at halftime.
Quotable from Coach Mark Byington
"Our guys fought and fought and they handled a lot tonight. With this environment, Savannah State should be proud. This is one of the better environments that I've ever coached in. I think the environment really energized Savannah State. They played on a different level, and we were right there. I would've loved for our guys to have been able to pull this one out, but it was a tough environment, tough situation. We're the youngest team in the country, and so it's hard to put these guys in this but when you put them in a situation like this, they're going to learn from it."
"A guy hits a 28-foot shot when the shot clock is going down; that was a huge three when we were right where we wanted to be. Then we're down two points, one stop away with 50 seconds to go, and a guy banks a 3-pointer in. Sometimes, it's just not your night. I thought the guys handled some things and fought through it. They played really, really hard, but give Savannah State the credit—they were able to make enough of those plays at the end."