The South Carolina State Bulldogs closed out the regular season finale with a, 69-50, disappointing defeat to Savannah State Thursday at Tiger Arena.
"It was a disappointing loss tonight but we have to get back up and get ready for the tournament," said SC State head coach Murray Garvin. "It's a new season and it's anybody's game we just have to come to play in Norfolk."
SC State falls to 9-20 overall, 5-11 in the MEAC , while Savannah St. improves to 12-18 overall, 10-6 in the league and clinched the 5th seed heading into next week's MEAC Championship Tournament.
Senior forward Jyles Smith finished with the games only double –double with a game-high 19 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Jalen White led the way for SC State with a team-high 13 points, while senior forward Matthew Hezekiah chipped in 11 and grabbed seven rebounds on the night.
SSU led 26-24 during halftime, before opening the second-half with a 16-point margin, 54-38, off a 3-pointer by freshman guard Alante Fenner at the 9:49 mark. Junior guard Devin Joint's driving layup pulled the Bulldogs within nine, 55-46 with 6:56 remaining.
Free-throws seemed to be the deciding factor down the stretch as the Tigers converted 16-of-21 (76.2%) from the charity stripe to seal a 19-point victory over the visiting Bulldogs.
Despite a game-high 14 turnovers by the Tigers, SSU out-rebounded SC State 37-31 while scoring 36 unanswered points from their bench play.
The Bulldogs will compete in the first-round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament held in Norfolk, VA March 10-15 at the Scope Arena.