Courttesy of the Savannah State Athletics:
Savannah State men’s basketball put together a clinic in the 2022 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Championship game, with an end-to-end 76-62 rout of Benedict College to claim the 2022 Championship Title.
No one expected the string of wins Savannah State men’s basketball put together in the championship tournament.
But on Saturday, they proved they were better than their regular season record. Better than the 0-3 start to the season. Better than their losing conference record. They were better than everyone thought and better than Benedict in the end.
For the first time this season, Savannah State strung together four consecutive wins. In the tournament, they started off with a win over Lane College, then Tuskegee University, then they broke Morehouse College’s 18-game streak to make Saturday’s game. During the regular season, they lost to Morehouse twice, Benedict twice, Lane once and beat Tuskegee.
“I am proud of these guys,” Savannah State Head Coach Horace Broadnax said in a post-game press conference. “They locked in. They put their differences aside. They formed a true team tonight to win this championship.”
The last Savannah State men’s basketball team to win an NCAA Division II SIAC Championship was the 1981 team, in the school’s first season in the division. The 1980 and 1979 teams also won SIAC Championships, but on the NCAA Division III level. The 1985 team finished runner-up in the SIAC Championship Tournament, falling to Albany State
Marcus Scott was the named the 2022 SIAC Championship MVP for his work during the tournament.
At the 15:58 mark of the opening half, Benedict’s Brandon Smith sank a jump shot to give his team a 6-5 lead. But Scott responded with a three-pointer seconds later to put the Tigers up 8-6 and open a massive 21-0 run over the next five minutes for a 25-8 lead with 8:23 to play.
The incredible offensive spurt from Savannah State stopped Benedict in their tracks. By the half, Benedict had only managed 15 points. The Tigers put up 46.
“The first half was unbelievable,” Broadnax said. “We played tremendous defense. Our guys played tremendous, tremendous defense. Held them to six or eight points for a long time. Scored the ball extremely well. Got up 31 points. It was unbelievable.”
The triple digit advantage was too much for Benedict in the second half, despite cutting Savannah State’s lead to 12 with 8:34 to play as the Tigers closed out the title game.
When asked in the press conference about the team’s growth from the beginning of the year to the championship game, Broadnax said with a laugh, “Well, we lost our first game of the season by 40 points.”
Scott led the team with 18 points on the night, going 4-for-8 from the three-point line and 5-for-12 from the field. Avery Joyner had another exceptional game, putting away 15 points of his own. Christian Blue tacked on 10 and Trey DeLoach scored nine in the win.
Savannah State has earned the SIAC’s automatic qualifier and an appearance in the 2022 NCAA Division II Championship Tournament. The tournament is set for March 23-26 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.