Story Courtesy SSU Athletics
NORFOLK, Va.- Dexter McClanahan scored a game-high 23 points but third-seeded Savannah State would fall short in a 58-56 setback to six-seeded North Carolina Central in the quarterfinals of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament.
Savannah State, who won a share of the regular season conference crown along with Hampton and Bethune-Cookman, led 50-48 after a layup by McClanahan with 7:07 left in the second half.
NCCU answered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Pablo Rivas and Reginald Gardner to go ahead 54-50 at the 6:08 mark. Rivas added two free throws with 5:02 showing to give the Eagles their largest lead of the game at 56-50.
Javaris Jenkins‘ 3-pointer with 4:28 remaining drew Savannah State within 56-53.
The score remained the same until NCCU’s Raaesean Davis dunk with 1:09 left put the Eagles ahead 58-53.
Nine seconds later, McClanahan canned a 3-pointer to draw the Tigers within 58-56 but they would get no closer.
In the closing seconds, McClanahan would miss a 3-point shot and Austin Dasent would miss a jumper for SSU.
The second half had six ties and three lead changes.
Savannah State concludes their season with a 15-17 record while NCCU moves on to play in the conference semifinals.
Dasent was the only other SSU player in double figures with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists. Jenkins added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds.
The Tigers shot 28.1 percent from the floor, 25 percent from beyond the arc and 70.6 percent from the free throw line.
The first half, which had two ties and six lead changes, was just as closer as the second period.
Savannah State trailed 15-12 with 13:09 showing but scored the next nine points as part of a 13-2 run that gave SSU their largest lead of the night at 25-17 with 7:32 left. During the run, McClanahan netted nine points.
A 3-pointer by Dasent with 3:31 remaining gave the Tigers a 30-23 lead but NCCU battled back to trim their deficit to two with 1:32 left after a dunk by Davis.
SSU finished the period with a pair of free throws by McClanahan and went into the half with a 34-30 advantage.
Rivas led NCCU with 19 points and a game-high 12 rebounds while Davis chipped in 16 points and 20 rebounds.
The Eagles (17-15) out-rebounded Savannah State 54 to 42 while shooting 34.8 percent from the field, making 25 percent of their 3-point shots and 66.7 percent of their free throw attempts.