Hornets fall late to Savannah State | News
MONTGOMERY, AL- MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama State men's basketball team lost a late lead in falling to Savannah State 59-54 Friday night at the Dunn-Oliver Acadome in the Hornets' home opener.
There were two ties and three lead changes in the final six minutes of the game. The Hornets tied the game for the final time at 50-50 with 2:37 remaining on Stephawn Brown's three-pointer from the top of the key.
Savannah State took the lead for good with just over two minutes to play and took a 55-51 lead with 1:18 to play in the game on a three-pointer by Deven Williams. However, a three-point play by Joshua Freelove brought the Hornets to within one at 55-54 with 55 seconds remaining.
The Alabama State defense held on the ensuing Savannah State possession, but committed a pair of turnovers in the final 10 seconds.
"I thought we played decently, opposed to how we had been playing," head coach Lewis Jackson said. "It seemed like we came together a little bit. It was good to get back on our home turf, but costly mistakes down the stretch hurt us. We knew they would start making some shots. They were 1-for-10 from behind in the first half, and we knew we couldn't give them good looks at the basket, but unfortunately they were able to get some and they knocked them down."
Freelove scored a team-high 17 points to lead Alabama State, while Luther Page and Stephawn Brown each added nine. Bobby Brown added a team-high seven rebounds.
The Hornets (0-4) trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half, before a defensive change sparked a comeback. Alabama State's 2-3 zone held Savannah State (3-1) to only one field goal in the final 9:45 of the first half, nearly erasing a 19-6 deficit with a 17-6 run. Freelove and Ryan Watts combined to score 13 points in the run to cut the Hornets' deficit to 25-23 at halftime.
"We were having problems with their bigs around the basket," Jackson said. "So we had to try to do something to keep the ball out of the paint. We went zone, and it allowed us to rebound the first miss after that, and allowed us to get back in the game. We went up a few times in the second half, but we just have to maintain our poise and take care of business. We had a layup to take the lead with about six seconds to play, and we bobbled the ball out of bounds. We just have to continue to work."
Alabama State used a 13-3 run early in the second half to take its first lead. A layup by Page in the middle of the spurt gave the Hornets their first lead at 32-30 with 16:10 remaining. Another layup by Page just over a minute later gave Alabama State its largest lead, 36-30, with just over 15 minutes remaining.
The Hornets now have more than a week off before returning to action at Troy Sunday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m.
"We have to work on our defense, closing out to the basketball, rebounding and getting the first miss," Jackson said. "We have to get a little tougher around the basket. We're playing some young guys and they're not bowing up and fighting for the positioning. This time that we have off will be good to allow us to get some things done."
INFORMATION SOURCE: ASU Athletics Dept.