Savannah State men’s basketball wins SIAC Tournament Championship, SSU women finish runner-up

The Savannah State men’s basketball team upset Benedict College in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship to claim the title, 76-62.
The Savannah State men's basketball team wins the 2022 SIAC Tournament Championship, topping...
The Savannah State men's basketball team wins the 2022 SIAC Tournament Championship, topping Benedict College, 76-62. (Photo by Sarah Peacock courtesy Savannah State Athletics)(Savannah State University Athletics)
Published: Mar. 6, 2022 at 3:36 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 6, 2022 at 3:25 PM EST
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ROCK HILL, S.C. (WTOC) - The Savannah State men’s basketball team upset Benedict College in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Championship to claim the title, 76-62.

The Tigers didn’t have a winning record coming into the tournament, but for the first time all season, they strung four wins together to claim the title.

The Tigers began the tournament with a win over Lane College, followed by Tuskegee University, then they broke Morehouse College’s 18-game streak to make it into the title game.

“I am proud of these guys,” Savannah State Head Coach Horace Broadnax said in a post-game press conference. “They locked in. They put their differences aside. They formed a true team tonight to win this championship.”

The last time the SSU men’s basketball team won an SIAC Championship was in 1981 and it was the schools first season in Division II.

Hinesville-native and Brunswick alum Marcus Scott, a sophomore guard, was named the 2022 SIAC Championship MVP for his work during the tournament.

SSU led Benedict 46 to 15 at the half.

“The first half was unbelievable,” Broadnax said in a press release. “We played tremendous defense. Our guys played tremendous, tremendous defense. Held them to six or eight points for a long time. Scored the ball extremely well. Got up 31 points. It was unbelievable.”

Broadnax was asked in a press conference about the team’s growth from the beginning of the year to the championship game, Broadnax said with a laugh, “Well, we lost our first game of the season by 40 points.”

Scott led the team with 18 points, going 4-for-8 from the three-point line and 5-for-12 from the field.

Savannah State has earned the SIAC’s automatic qualifier and an appearance in the 2022 NCAA Division II Championship Tournament.

The tournament is set for March 23-26 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.

In the early game, the Savannah State women weren’t able to win the title, falling to Benedict College, the defending SIAC Champions, 71-67.

At 27-2 overall, Savannah State tied the school record for most wins in a season. Both losses came to Benedict: on the road January 22, and Saturday in the tournament in Rock Hill.

The Lady Tigers 14-0 start to the season, set a new school record for most consecutive wins to open a season. Until Saturday, they were on track to match that record coming into the game on a 13-0 streak.

“Great basketball game between two great programs,” Head Coach Cedric Baker said in a post-game press conference. “Of course, Benedict is a championship program and we want to get to that point. Congratulations to Benedict.”

The Lady Tigers struggled to score in the opening quarter. All season, SSU overwhelmed their opponents with a high-scoring opening half. They’ve been averaging over 80 points a game this season and outscoring their opponents by a 21 point margin according to a press release.

Ta’Quasia Lampkin, a freshman forward out of Battery Creek, and Amari Heard, a sophomore guard, led the Lady Tigers in scoring, each dropping14 points.

“We typically shoot the ball extremely well from the perimeter, It didn’t work in our favor tonight. It was a great season. Credit to my ladies. I thought they fought hard there when we got down at the end. Came up a little short today,” Baker said.

Savannah State is now 27-2 on the year.

The Lady Tigers are ranked No. 12 in the WBCA Coaches Poll, No. 24 in the D2SIDA Media Poll and No. 6 in the NCAA Division II South Region poll—all three are the highest rankings earned in program history according to the school.

They now await Selection Sunday on March 13 at 8:00 P.M. EST for the DII Tournament, where they could receive an at-large bid.

The 2022 NCAA Division-II Women’s Basketball Championship is March 21-25 in Birmingham, Alabama.

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