Game #9-143: Jacksonville at South Carolina State BulldogsNovember 28, 2012 7:30 pm
SHM Memorial Center
On Wednesday, November 28, my original plan was to see College of Charleston play Charleston Southern. This was also Matt Cayuela
's original plan as well. But I knew that one potential problem might be that the game was at Charleston Southern, the first time the CSU-C of C rivalry has been hosted at Charleston Southern's 881 seat arena
in over 20 years. I know that Charleston Southern rarely sells out in advance despite the small size of its gym, but figure that game certainly would. I looked for when tickets were to be made available online, and when that day came I checked around the website when they were first made available. While CSU's other games were then made available, the ticket link for the C of C game instead read "Tickets are sold out".
I figured there was an excellent chance of this happening. Most likely the CSU ticket office distributed all the tickets at their school office the morning before tickets were to be made online. I have seen this occur with hotly contested games before. One notable instance was a NCAA Tournament baseball matchup between Coastal Carolina and South Carolina to be held in Myrtle Beach. Gamecock fans were enraged that Coastal had sold all the tickets for the series starting right after CCU clinched its regional title to qualify, with the remaining tickets all sold out the following morning at the stadium box office. I happened to be one of the few Gamecock baseball fans who did get a ticket, as since it took one more day to complete Coastal's regional than it did for South Carolina, I was able to attend Coastal's regional final as well. I figured that tickets would likely be sold after the game if the Chanticleers won, and I was correct and lucked out to get tickets for the series. But that was not the case here with Charleston Southern. It really did not bother me too much, as I knew I had a mid-major game that was actually closer than the CSU game. Matt would change his plans as well and make a trip to Greensboro
, while I would head back to S.C. State.
It is always good to make plans in advance. Before the season started, I made up a database of games to potentially go to. I included all Division I games (both men and women) less than a three hour drive for me, as well as all Division II games within two hours of me. And from that on the first of November, I made up a grand schedule of games
that I would go to. The schedule is a bit absurd, because even though I have more free time than most nobody could potentially go that many games unless they were actually paid to do so. If I went to every game on that list, I would attend close to 100 mid-major basketball games for TMM9 and just over 200 basketball games total. That won't happen of course, and I hope that I am can stay busy doing other things as well. But I always like having an option for every day, even on days when I will not likely go to a game. As it turns out, I could have just waited for the "Eligible Games List"
to come out and pick from that. But my list has been useful so far, and while I have not been to everything on it I still have been to most games from it that has been played thus far. I am somewhat surprised at having stayed to that list somewhat. The useful thing I did was putting the OR option for some days. I listed this Jacksonville-SC State game as an OR option as I did for a few other games depending on logistical issues involved, most notably worries about my first option selling out as was the case here.
I was not too enthusiastic about this game going in; mainly because it would be the third game in less than three weeks I would be attending at the Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center, with another trip to Orangeburg coming five days later. The other reason I was not enthusiastic about this matchup is the quality of the home team. The Bulldogs of South Carolina State did not win a single MEAC game last year, and lost at home a couple weeks ago to the team that finished last in the Atlantic Sun a year ago. The Bulldogs' opponent tonight was the Jacksonville Dolphins, usually a credible A-Sun team. I thought this might be like the Albany game where the Bulldogs' defense was torched. I did not figure this to be much more competitive.
But when I arrived in Orangeburg, I could tell that the SCSU students and band/spirit squads would be ready for this game unlike the last two I had seen here. One challenge in changing plans was that I was not aware of the women's game beforehand until a few hours before the game, by which I had already made dinner plans. When I arrived with about five minutes to play in the women's game, most fans had already arrived with the Bulldog women cruising past the Dolphin women. I did not think the Bulldog men would follow suit in whipping their Atlantic Sun opponent. But SC State would get off to a good start as Jacksonville came out flat. SC State generally has a pretty good offense, but what has hurt them recently is a small backcourt that can't challenge outside shooters effectively. But Jacksonville was not as hot on offense early on, while SC State was able to as strong as ever on the other side. Point guard Khalif Toombs did well with 10 assists on the night, and Patrick Myers did well at getting to the basket from the backcourt in finishing with 15 points. The Bulldogs also got some big shots from Adama Adams, best known as Louie. A solid first half from start to finish gave the home Bulldogs a surprising halftime lead of 45-30. The Dolphins came out better in the second half, but SCSU continued to maintain control. With a minute and a half left, S.C. State still had a nine point lead with the ball. The Bulldogs were not expected to win going in, but it sure looked good for them now.
But from having been fans of bad teams, I never see a modest lead look safe. I always can envision a scenario where my team completely falls apart and loses it. And while I am not a SC State fan, I have been to enough of their games recently that I had a feeling that they somehow would let the Dolphins back in it. And sure enough, this is what happened over the next minute:
After a charge was called on JU with less than 90 seconds left, SC State would get the ball up nine. But the Dolphin press caused Adams to be stripped of the ball in the backcourt. Jacksonville with just over a minute left would then turn it over, only for the Bulldogs to immediately turn it over again and the Dolphins got a quick shot to cut SC State's lead to seven with a minute left. Toombs was fouled immediately and made one of two free throws to make the SCSU lead eight points. With just under 50 seconds left, Jacksonville's Dylan Fritsch responded with a three to cut SCSU's lead to five. The Bulldogs got the in-bound pass to forward Darryl Palmer, who is not a good free throw shooter and made one of two to make the lead six points. With just under 40 seconds left, Javon Dawson made a three under pressure to make it a one possession game. And that possession would quickly be taken away. Palmer's pass under pressure was stolen by Dawson with just about 30 seconds left. Dawson quickly tossed it to Fritsch in the corner, who knocked down another superhoop to tie the game. In just over 30 seconds, SC State went from up by 9 to tied. The crowd, which has seen a lot of late falters by their Bulldogs in recent years, was shocked after thinking they would be celebrating a win.
At this point, I figured one of two things was going to happen. Most likely of those was that SC State would hold for one shot, miss it, and then we would head to overtime with the surging Dolphins continuing to ride their momentum to victory. The other thing I thought might happen would be a Bulldog turnover that would lead to a dramatic Dolphin win in regulation. I was hoping for the latter so there would be no overtime here. But SCSU coach Tim Carter, who has been here through all of the recent Bulldog struggles, was able to call timeout and calm his players down for one last play. Nobody wants to go from up nine with just over a minute left to having to draw up a play for a game winning shot. But that is what Carter had to do, as SC State was forced to change plans. They had to make this one count. Toombs came out and dribbled the ball around the perimeter to hold for the last shot. Toombs passed the ball to Adams, who then drove to the basket. Adams was not able to get a good layup attempt off, and it looked like that would be it. But rather than a lot of the flailing attempts I see in the final seconds on putback attempts, Matthew Hezekiah was able to make a clean catch-and-shoot putback underneath the basket with 1.6 seconds left to put SC State back ahead 74-72. The Dolphins in their last second plans scrambled and could only manage a poorly taken 60 foot shot at the buzzer. The Bulldogs managed to come away with a much needed win, and we had our first court storming of the season here in Orangeburg!
It was a big win for South Carolina State, one they needed to get the basketball program back on track. And it is also a good win for the MEAC, with SCSU doing what they could not quite do against Kennesaw State a couple weeks prior. I was glad that I had my plans sidetracked and came to this game instead. The Charleston Southern game was not too bad either, with College of Charleston able to hold off the home Bucs by five. But every game has something worth in it watching, as every game is its own story. And as I tweeted after the game, the final minute was a series of events that would have been great to listen to Gus Johnson announce. Now that's a game worth seeing all of the time.
at SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 74, JACKSONVILLE 72
JACKSONVILLE 3-5 (0-0) -- J. Haywood 5-13 3-4 13; K. Fleming 6-9 1-5 13; D. Fritsch 5-10 0-0 14; R. Powell 3-5 0-0 6; G. Powell 2-6 0-0 4; J. Dawson 3-5 3-4 10; E. Graham 0-1 2-4 2; T. Alderman 1-2 2-2 4; J. Bogus 1-2 0-0 2; K. McDougald 1-4 1-1 4; M. Bell 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 27-60 12-20 72.
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 4-3 (0-0) -- A. Adams 7-13 0-0 16; M. Hezekiah 6-8 0-0 12; P. Myers 7-12 1-2 15; K. Toombs 1-7 6-8 8; D. Palmer 4-5 3-4 12; L. Radovic 2-6 0-0 4; S. Mitchell 0-2 1-2 1; C. Campbell 2-2 0-0 6; J. Benjamin 0-0 0-0 0; T. Stephens 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-55 11-16 74.
Three-point goals: JAX 6-18 (R. Powell 0-1; K. McDougle 1-3; J. Dawson 1-1; J. Bogus 0-1; M. Bell 0-2; J. Haywood 0-1; D. Fritsch 4-9), SCST 5-13 (K. Toombs 0-2; L. Radovic 0-1; A. Adams 2-3; C. Campbell 2-2; S. Mitchell 0-1; P. Myers 0-2; D. Palmer 1-2); Rebounds: JAX 32 (G. Powell 7), SCST 28 (L. Radovic 6); Assists: JAX 13 (R. Powell 5), SCST 18 (K. Toombs 10); Total Fouls -- JAX 19, SCST 20; Fouled Out: JAX-None; SCST-None.
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