Courtesy of Alex Lehmbeck, Asst. SID, Norfolk State Athletics
NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk State men’s basketball team bounced back from Monday’s road loss with a comfortable home win over South Carolina State on Saturday. After a neck-and-neck first half, the Spartans pulled away for an 82-68 victory.
Joe Bryant Jr. led the way for the home squad, nearly earning the third double-double of his career with a 23-point, nine-rebound performance. Dana Tate Jr.followed closely behind, scoring 21 points while shooting 8-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-6 from deep.
The Spartans improved to 14-7 on the season and 4-2 in the MEAC with the win, tying NSU with Morgan State for third in the conference standings.
A pair of 3-pointers helped the Bulldogs take a small lead early in the first half, but a string of jump shots from Tate helped the Spartans stay even with their opponent. Tyrese Jenkins cut through the paint for a one-handed slam to give NSU its first lead of the day.
Kris Bankston added two more dunks within a few minutes, before Joe Bryant got a turnaround fadeaway to fall while drawing a foul. Bryant knocked down a 3-pointer and Nyzaiah Chambers scored in the paint soon after, extended Norfolk State’s lead to double digits.
Multiple tough shots helped South Carolina trim the deficit to five at the break, but Bryant and Tate wasted no time getting the Spartans going in the second half. The former used a crafty finish in the lane before the latter knockdown a 3-pointer, before the latter knocked down a 3-pointer in stride to get the packed crowd engaged.
Starting with a pair of baskets to end the first half, Norfolk State went on an 18-3 run to take command of the ball game by the midway point of the second period.
The Spartans’ lead expanded to over 20 points on multiple occasion, as SCSU never got within striking distance for the rest of the evening. The Bulldogs knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in the final minute of regulation, softening the final margin to 14.
As a team, the Spartans shot 8-of-15 from behind the arc (53.3 percent), their second most-efficient night of the season from deep. It also marked the most efficient 3-point shooting night of any SCSU opponent this season, follow closely behind by Wake Forest (52.9 percent).
Norfolk State has little time to soak in this victory, with a nationally televised home matchup against North Carolina Central on the horizon. The Spartans and Eagles will battle at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 30, with the game broadcasted on ESPNU.
Next Game: North Carolina Central 1/30/2023 | 7 p.m. ESPNU WNSB 91.1 FM