BY ANDREAS BUTLER
The men’s basketball team at Bethune-Cookman ended a 3-0 home stand by beating South Carolina State and Savannah State.
“It’s all about momentum. We want to gain it heading into the conference tournament. Usually the team hot going in wins it,” said Gravelle Craig, B-CU’s head basketball coach.
The Wildcats (12-16, 7-6) beat Savannah State 72-58 in front of a rowdy, full house in their final home game on Monday.
Adrien Coleman posted 21 points and 11 rebounds for B-CU.
“It was a big game for us. My teammates give me confidence. They tell me that if I play well, that they are right behind me,” stated Coleman.
The Wildcats took a commanding 57-41 lead with 6:47 left after a bank shot by Coleman.
Savannah (17-11, 10-3) led 4-1 after a basket by Christopher Spears with 18:41 to play in the first half. B-CU led 21-14 following a pair of threes from Malik Jackson with 4:24 left in the first half.
The Tigers cut the deficit to 28-26 at halftime but never got going offensively. They finished 18-for-49 from the field at 36.7 percent.
“Our zone defense bothered them. They don’t shoot well from outside but they are very good at driving to the lane. We just tried to bottle things up. We also pressed early,” said Craig.
Javoris Bryant added 13 points, Kevin Dukes 12 and Jackson 10 for B-CU.
Rashad Hassan tallied 14 points with 15 rebounds, Preston Blackman 14 points and Arnold Louis 10 points with 11 boards for Savannah.
’Cats hold off ’Dawgs’
Two days earlier, B-CU topped the South Carolina State Bulldogs 85-75 on Senior Day.
The Wildcats led 56-30 with 18 minutes left after three consecutive three pointers from Dukes and another from Paul Scotland.
“We were able to get turnovers and get out in transition early on which helped us. We also made some shots,” responded Craig.
“We had been starting slow in the second half, so we just came out with intensity today,” added Dukes.
Coleman had 26 points, 11 rebounds and five assists while Dukes scored 19 points for B-CU.
Toombs had 24 points, Matthew Hazekiah 18 points with 11 rebounds and Darryl Palmer 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Scotland added 10 points, Bryant nine points with six boards Jackson nine points for the Wildcats.
Women’s basketball: Ladies beat Tigers
The Lady Wildcats finally got the ball in the basket to beat Savannah State 67-53 in their home finale on Monday.
“We needed to stop the bleeding from our last two losses where we didn’t shoot well. We did shoot well tonight,” said B-CU Coach Vanessa Blair.
Chastity Rene Taylor had a career-high 27 points while Amanda Hairston returned to old form with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats.
“It was our last home game and this season. I haven’t played up to my ability. I just wanted to go and do my best,” responded Hairston.
“I was just shooting the open shots as I got them,” echoed Taylor.
Terrenisha Hollis also had a career-high 12 rebounds with six points, six assists and four blocks for B-CU.
“I just went out there and gave it my all. I put it all out there on the court tonight,” remarked Hollis.
Added Blair, “It was good to have all three of them play well tonight. We haven’t had that luxury. It’s usually one is hot but not all three.’’
Taylor scored nine consecutive points, the last a three-pointer giving the Wildcats a comfortable 44-25 lead with 15:41 remaining.
Savannah State (7-19, 2-11) cut the lead to 59-50 after two free throws from Jerryisha Williams with 1:49 remaining.
“It’s second nature – teams often make comebacks. It always happens in sports,” said Blair.
Jasmine Norman had 21 points with 10 rebounds, Erin Hogue added 12 points with nine rebounds and Blessing Uba eight points for the Tigers.
Shakeyia Colyer also had 12 points for the Wildcats.
Lady Wildcats couldn’t rally past Bulldogs
Poor shooting doomed B-CU in a 58-50 loss to South Carolina State on Senior Day.
The Lady Wildcats went 0-13 from the field to open the second half and were 1-for-18 to start the game. They had scoring droughts of 6:35 and 7:20 and at hone point went 9:58 without a field goal.
“Simply put: When you cannot score, you cannot win,” commented Blair.
South Carolina led by as many as 24 points but B-CU rallied, fueled by the play of Jasmine Evans, Hairston and Hollis.
The Lady Wildcats got within 47-40 after Taylor stole an inbound pass and found Colyer for a lay up with 3:40 remaining.
Ashley Clark had 15 points, Tiara Knotts 13 points and Trinese Fox 12 for the Bulldogs.
Evans finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, Taylor 13 points, Hollis nine points with eight boards and Hairston six points with five rebounds for the Lady Wildcats.
Baseball: Game rained out
Heavy rains on Tuesday canceled the Wildcats game against I-4 rival Stetson University at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Downtown Daytona Beach.
The teams are exploring possible makeup dates for the game.
B-CU (2-6) played UCF on Wednesday and is scheduled to host Florida A&M in a three-game series on March 1-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener for both teams.