|No. 5 Delaware State Survives, Beats No. 12 Savannah State||< All News|
|Tuesday, March 10, 2015|
NORFOLK, Va. --- Amere May scored 15 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including some key free throws down the stretch, and Kendall Gray supplied the defense as Delaware State pulled out a 64-58 win over Savannah State in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference at the Norfolk Scope.
The Hornets (16-16), the Number 5 seed, advanced to the quarterfinal round against Howard on Thursday at 8 p.m. The two teams met once during the regular season and the Hornets prevailed, 79-76.
The two teams battled back and forth in the first 20 minutes until the Tigers (9-22), the Number 12 seed, managed a 26-25 lead at the intermission.
Amere, a first team All-MEAC selection, who was coming off a 40-point performance in the last game of the season against Coppin State game, tallied 11 of his points on five of nine shooting.
“I’ve seen him do this since he has been in high school,” said Delaware State head coach Keith Walker. “I’m never surprised with his offensive production. He is a very capable scorer against any team.”
Savannah State had a more balanced attack as seven different players scored.
Delaware State began to get a little distance between them and the Tigers when they went on a 19-6 run over the first seven minutes of the second stanza to take a 44-32 lead.
May, reserve Todd Hughes, Tyshawn Bell supplied the offense while Kendall Gray, the MEAC Player and Defensive Player of the Year spearheaded the defense. It must be noted that Gray eclipsed the 1,000-point and the 800-rebound mark in his career.
The scrappy Tigers would not go away and they embarked on a run of their own, a 26-15 effort that narrowed the margin to 59-58 with 27 seconds on the clock.
“I don’t ever question how hard my guys work,” said Savannah State head coach Horace Broadnax. “We were down by 12 in the second half and were able to fight back.”
May was subsequently fouled and converted both to make the score, 61-58 with 10 seconds remaining.
Savannah State would have another chances to get close but the presence of Kendall Gray proved to be a decisive factor. The 6-foot-10 senior grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked four shots, but his mere presence forced the Tigers to shoot from the perimeter. Savannah State attempted 27 threes and made just six.
“Amere and I see double teams all the time,” explained Gray. “We expect them. We do what we can to help the team win, whether it’s on defense or finding the open man.”
Bell and Gray put the game away by hitting on three of four free throws. That was another key factor in the game as Savannah did not attempt a free throw the entire game.
May hit on 11 of 18 from field and added six rebounds. Bell tallied 14 and six rebounds and Hughes 11.
The Tigers were led by Alante Fenner with a team-high 15 and Demarcus Bryant with 11 off the bench.