Sophomore forward Devin Joint's tip-in basket with 0:04 seconds remaining in regulation, lift South Carolina State to a 62-60 victory over visiting Delaware State Monday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
Freshman forward Darryl Palmer led the way with a game-high 21 points and six rebounds, while teammate senior guard Khalif Toombs added 19 points and six assist in his final home game of his collegiate career.
"I'm just overjoyed and proud of my guys for the way they played their hearts out tonight," said head coach Murray Garvin. "I just give thanks to our fans, the administration, athletic director Charlene Johnson for the love and support they have given this program over the season."
The Bulldogs play an almost perfect game throughout finishing with a season-low nine turnovers, while out-rebounding the Hornets 34-31.
"The last few games when averaged 20 turnovers, when you take care of the basketball like we did tonight the result will always be positive."
Delaware State jumped out to a quick 21-10 lead off a jumper by junior forward Casey Walker at the 10:45 mark in the half. Toombs driving layup followed by a 3-pointer by Palmer cut the lead to three, 21-18 with 8:24 remaining in the first-half.
The Hornets kept pounding away to push the lead to 11, 35-24 off a layup by Walker and a pair of free-throws by senior forward Marques Oliver with 2:39 left. Delaware State led 36-26 over SC State at the half.
The Bulldogs chipped away to cut the lead to five,46-41 off a Toombs steal then layup and a monster alley-hoop dunk from junior guard Louie Adams to Palmer at the 13:21 mark. SC State down by four with less than 2:33 remaining in regulation responded when junior forward Matthew Hezekiah threw down back-to-back dunks to take the lead 60-57 with 0:34 seconds left.
"If there is better freshman in the league I don't want to play against him, "said Garvin. " Palmer is a tremendous talent and the best is yet to come for this kid."
Sophomore guard Tahj Tate a native of South Carolina kept the Hornets hope alive nailing a long range 3-pointer with 0:22 seconds left to tie the game 60-60. SC State had one last chance to close out the game when Adams floating layup rimmed out, but Joints tip-in with 0:04 seconds remaining gave the Bulldogs that extra boost to pull away with the victory.
Hezekiah finished with 10 points and four rebounds, while the Hornets were led by Walker with a team-high 18 points and Tate's 17 in the loss. Meanwhile, forward Marques Oliver added 13 points and seven rebounds and sophomore center Kendall Gray added a team-high nine rebounds and eight points.
Garvin stated, "Khalif is the heartbeat of this team and when he has the right mindset we are a great position to win."
The Bulldogs improved to 6-23 overall, 2-14 in the MEAC, while Del-State dropped to 13-17, 8-8 in the league.