Norfolk State gets by South Carolina State in OT, 71-67

title image via Monica Simon

Courtesy of  Alex Lehmbeck, Associate Sports Information Director, Norfolk State Athletics

South Carolina St. Logo



Norfolk St. Logo


Winner Norf

Team12OT 1F
SCSt22 36 67
Norf30 28 13 71

Norfolk State has developed a penchant for dramatic finishes at Echols Hall lately.

Prior to Saturday’s “Alumni Day” matchup with South Carolina State, NSU’s previous showdown at its home venue ended with a game-winning tip-in by Tyrel Bladen. This time around, Jaylani Dardendelivered the go-ahead basket late in the night, pushing the Spartans to a 71-67 overtime victory.

Before the opening tip, Norfolk State honored Allen Betrand for scoring his 1,000th career point and head coach Robert Jones for picking up his 200thcareer earlier this season.

Jamarii Thomas led the Spartans with 18 points, shooting 5-of-10 from the floor and 7-of-7 from the free thow line. Darden tallied 14 points, adding three rebounds and two steals.

Norfolk State wasted no time getting ahead early. Darden found Thomas on the fastbreak for a thunderous slam before Thomas connected with Bladen for another two-handed dunk a minute later.

Tyrese Jenkins knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a double-digit lead before the halfway mark of the first half. The Bulldogs came right back, though, knocking down multiple 3-pointers to puil within one.

The Spartans started getting to the line frequently, scoring their next seven points at the free throw line. NSU freshman Chris Fields found Darden open for a spot-up 3-pointer, sending Norfolk State to halftime with a 30-22 advantage.

South Carolina State scored on three consecutive trips down the floor early in the second half, cutting the deficit to four. Thomas and Darden continued to provide offensive firepower for the Spartans, however, keeping Norfolk State in control.

The Bulldogs hit big shot after big shot to crawl back up the scoreboard. Raquan Brown made a 3-pointer with just under eight minutes remaining, giving SCSU its first lead since the game’s first minute.

The Spartans responded quickly, going back in front with a layup from Thomas, before Allen Betrand converted from behind the arc moments later. Another triple by Jenkins put NSU up by four.

South Carolina State pulled within one with just over a minute remaining, but Fields scored his biggest basket of the day on the next trip down the floor, fighting off contact while falling to the floor.

South Carolina State earned a pair of trips to the free throw line in the last minute, converting all four attempts to send the game into overtime.
Bladen drew first blood for the Spartans in the extra period, but South Carolina State retook the lead with a 3-pointer form Atiba Taylor in the blink of an eye. With the Spartans trailing by three, Thomas converted a crucial shot from behind the arc to even things up in the final minutes.

Betrand provided another timely score moments later, giving Norfolk State a 67-65 advantage with a floater. SCSU converted at the free throw line once again to tie the game, giving NSU the ball with a five second differential between the shot clock and game clock.

After his last-second attempt in regulation misfired, Thomas dished to his teammate for the go-ahead shot in this opportunity. Darden stepped up to the challenge, knocking down a difficult running jump shot with seven seconds remaining.

Norfolk State drew an offensive foul on South Carolina State’s next possession to get the ball right back. Needing a pair of clutch free throws to ice the game, the Spartans subbed in George Beale Jr., who answered the call with a couple of swishes.

Checking The Box Score

  • Jamarii Thomas led the Spartans with 18 points, shooting 7-of-7 from the free throw line
  • Jaylani Darden tallied 14 points, adding three rebounds, two assists, and two steals
  • Tyrel Bladen shot 4-of-4 from the floor in a nine-point showing
  • Tyrese Jenkins led the Spartans on the glass, corralling five rebounds off the bench
  • South Carolina State outrebounded NSU 45-34
  • NSU outscored the Bulldogs 13-9 in overtime, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor
  • Saturday’s game featured six ties and five lead changes

News & Notes

  • Norfolk State improved to 16-9 with the win, 6-2 in MEAC play
  • SCSU dropped to 9-16 on the season, 4-4 in conference action
  • With Howard’s 90-82 win over North Carolina Central on Saturday, Norfolk State is now in sole possession of first place in the MEAC standings
  • Saturday marked Norfolk State’s first overtime game since the team’s 72-65 victory over NCCU in the 2023 MEAC Tournament Semifinals   


Norfolk State will look for vengeance in front of a national audience on Monday, facing North Carolina Central at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.

Next Game:
North Carolina Central
2/19/2024 | 9 p.m.

Team Statistics

Game StatsSCStNorf

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