The South Carolina State Bulldogs snapped a three-game losing streak with an impressive, 75-70, overtime victory over MEAC rival N.C. A&T Monday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
South Carolina State improves to 9-16 overall, 5-6 in the MEAC, while N.C. A&T falls to 8-19 overall, 4-8 in the league.
"I am very pleased with my guys we were fortunate to get a win against a very well coach N.C. A&T team tonight," said Bulldog head coach Murray Garvin. "I have tremendous respect for Coach Alexander and his program they played a great game."
All-MEAC senior forward Matthew Hezekiah led the way for the Bulldogs with the games only double-double, 17 points and 12 rebounds. The key surprise off the bench was the play of freshman guard Greg Mortimer who finished with a season-high 11 points, five rebounds, and four assists in the victory.
"Mortimer is a freshman in our program but he stepped up big tonight for us when we needed a basket," said Garvin. "We had a few guys out due to injury so when he (Mortimer) got a chance to play he proved himself not only in the game but in practice as well."
The Aggies were led by senior guard Lamont Middleton with 24 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Bruce Beckford added 12.
The first-half was close throughout with the Aggies taking a 32-30 lead over the Bulldogs during intermission. SC State opened up the second-half jumping out to a quick six point lead, 45-39 off a layup by junior guard/forward Devin Joint at the 11:12 mark.
Senior guard Theron Stephens nailed a long range 3-pointer to give SC State their biggest lead of the game eight, 53-45 with 7:29 remaining. The Aggies battled back off a dunk and a free-throw by Middleton to cut the lead to one, 54-53 with 4:14 left in regulation.
Sophomore forward Daryll Palmer's free-throw put SC State ahead 64-62 with 0:05 seconds remaining. Middleton tossed in a pair of free-throws with 0:01 second remaining after being fouled to tie the game, 64-64, and force overtime.
In overtime, Mortimer delivered the knockout punch nailing a 3-pointer with 2:19 remaining to put the Bulldogs ahead, 71-68. Junior guard Darron Eastmon made a pair of free-throws with 0:08 seconds remaining to seal the 75-70 victory for Coach Murray Garvin and the Bulldogs.
Garvin stated, "This was a much needed win for our program and it keeps us in position to finish 7th or 8th in the conference. We have a big game against Savannah State on Saturday and we are going to need all the support we can to get another win."
South Carolina State returns to action on Saturday for the final home game of the season against the Tigers of Savannah State in a 4 p.m., doubleheader with the men tipoff immediately afterwards. It will be "Senior Night" for the Bulldogs.