#1E Benedict 64, #5E Albany State 55
Benedict, now 17-12 overall, advances to face the winner between #3E Paine and #2 Kentucky State, who play Thursday afternoon, on Friday at 1 p.m. in the semifinals.
The Lady Tigers scored 12 straight points late in the second half to pull away from a close game. Albany State led 53-50 with 5:15 left to play when Benedict started its run. London Richardson hit a pair of free throws, then Weathers hit a 3-pointer, one of six she made in the game, to put Benedict ahead 55-53 with 4:18 left to play and Benedict maintained a lead for the rest of the game.
Alexus Jones followed with a 3-pointer to give Benedict a 58-53 lead with 3:47 left to play. Both teams went the next three minutes without scoring, with a layup by Weathers following a steal by Jones giving Benedict a 60-53 lead with 1:30 left to play.
Benedict, which defeated Albany State by 35 points in Columbia and 12 points in Albany State, struggled against the Lady Rams in the first half. Benedict shot 32.4 percent and committed 17 turnovers in the first half, and trailed by as much as nine points, 28-19, with 3:06 to play in the first half after a layup by Danielle Colson.
Benedict outscored Albany State 8-3 to close out the first half and cut the lead to 31-27 at the break.
Brittany Jackson added 16 points for the Lady Tigers and had a game-high nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
Benedict had a big advantage on the boards, out-rebounding Albany State 45-23, including a 22-6 advantage on the offensive end.
#1W Tuskegee 67, #5E Claflin 55
Calvin Thomas had the hot hand in the first half and Javier McKinney closed out the game in the second half as each player scored 16 points to lead Tuskegee to a 67-55 victory over #5E Clafin in the Quarterfinals of the 2013 SIAC Basketball tournament.
With the scored tied at 51-51 with under four minutes remaining in the game, McKinney took matters into his own hand.
The junior shooting guard found enough space to hit a baseline 3-pointer as the shot-clock hit zero. From there, McKinney would hit his next three baskets, while picking up two of his four steals on back-to-back Claflin possessions to help create distance for the West Division Champions.
The Tigers, (14-12) will face the winner of #1E Morehouse and #3W Kentucky State, Friday afternoon at 3:15 pm in the Semifinals of the SIAC Basketball Tournament.
For a minute it looked as though Claflin, (11-16), was on route to send shockwaves across the conference with the upset of the West Division Champions. The Panthers held their own, matching basket-for-basket, until the team went dormant on offense in the final minutes of the game.
The cold streak allowed Tuskegee to close out the game on an 11-2 run.
Jarrod Denard matched a game-high with 16 points, while Marcellus Dunn added 10 points for Claflin.
#4E Fort Valley State 73, #1W Tuskegee
Tuskegee trailed by as many as nine points in the contest, and did not even manage to get their first lead of the game until 6:10 remaining in the half, when they had a slight edge at 23-22. Down 41-32 with 17 minutes remaining, the Tigerettes rallied to tie the game at 49-49 with 12:05 left. The Tigerettes earned their final lead of the game when Marie McAbee made back-to-back layups to give TU a 71-69 lead with 1:22 left in the game.
Gilbert finished with a game-high 21 points, but it was her unconscious shooting during clutch time, which kept Fort Valley State in the game. Trailing by seven, the sophomore twice stopped on the dime to nail 25-foot 3-pointers basket to cut into the Tuskegee lead.
Briana Shepherd also contributed 14 points, and the Lady Wildcats managed to get the victory even though Tuskegee shot a better percentage from the floor for the game (44.6 to 37.5 percent). Marie McAbee led the Tigerettes with 19 points, and Nnenna Eze posted a double-double in likely her final game at Tuskegee, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Amelia Dorton also contributed ten points and six rebounds.
Fort Valley State will now play the winner of Clark Atlanta University and Claflin University, as that game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. tomorrow evening. The Lady Wildcats will play the winner in a game scheduled for
Friday at 5:30 p.m. Fort Valley swept Claflin during the regular season, but dropped both games they played against the Lady Panthers this season, including their final regular season game before the conference tournament.
Benedict scored the first 11 points of the second half, with Jackson hitting three consecutive 3-pointers, to give the Tigers a 46-33 lead with 17:04 to play. Benedict kept a double-digit lead the rest of the way.
The first half was a different story, with the Golden Rams taking an early 12-6 lead before Benedict tied the game at 12 on a layup by Tydran Beaty. The game remained close the rest of the first half, with Albany State’s Justin Wilcox tying the game at 33 with 16 seconds left in the half. Benedict’s Xavier Collier raced down the court and scored a layup to give the Tigers a 35-33 lead at the half.
Benedict, the No. 1 seed in the East Division, improves to 21-6 overall. The Tigers advanced to the semifinals at 7:45 p.m. on Friday against the winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal matchup between Stillman and Paine.
Benedict lost to Stillman in their only meeting this season, but beat Paine twice, including a 70-64 victory on Saturday in the final game of the regular season.
Jackson had eight 3-pointers in that contest at Paine on Saturday, and has made 15 3-pointers in his last two games.
Albany State wraps up the season at 7-19. Wilcox led the Golden Rams with 14 points, while Justin Udi added 11 points.