NORFOLK, Va. (NSUSpartans.com) – Four players reached double figures, and the Norfolk State men’s basketball team held South Carolina State down in a 73-62 win on Saturday evening in a MEAC game at Joseph Echols Hall.The Spartans maintained first place in the league at 5-0 while dropping the previous second-place Bulldogs to 4-2.
Senior Jermaine Bishop led all players with 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting with four assists.
NSU made 45 percent from the field for its fifth win in a row, improving its overall record to 9-11. The Spartans held a sizeable +9 edge on the glass as well.
Jahmari Etienne scored 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting as the only player in double figures for South Carolina State. The Bulldogs fell to 9-9 overall.
The Spartans never trailed in the last 10 minutes of the first half, and they led by as much as 15 in the second. South Carolina State had trailed by just four at the half but was unable to get going in the second.
Up 35-31 after shooting 48 percent in the first half, NSU started the second by scoring nine of the first 11 points to push the lead to double digits for the first time. Bishop’s 3-pointer stretched the lead to 12, and it went to 14 on sophomore Chris Ford’s 3-point play with 14:18 to go in the game.
After the Bulldogs cut the deficit to nine a few minutes later, NSU started an 8-2 run for a 15-point edge at 64-49. It was still a 15-point advantage exactly five minutes later, and the Bulldogs got as close as nine with two minutes remaining after scoring the next six points.
With the win, NSU currently sits a half game ahead of North Carolina A&T for first place in the MEAC. The Aggies are the only team besides NSU with less than two conference losses.
Ford finished with 10 points, two blocks and a career-high nine rebounds, just short of his first ever double-double. Junior Devante Carter (4-of-9 shooting) and sophomore Joe Bryant Jr. (4-of-10) scored 10 points and had six rebounds each.
Junior Kashaun Hicks scored a couple of buckets early on in what was a tight game to start. The Bulldogs led by four, but Bishop and junior Efstratios Kaloegerias each knocked down 3-pointers for three-point leads for the Spartans. The latter of those shots made it 21-18 at the 8:36 mark.
They stretched the lead to six a few minutes later on a 3-point play from Carter, and then to eight on Bryant’s long jumper with less than four minutes to go in the half. But a couple of 3-pointers from the Bulldogs helped trim their deficit to an eventual four at the break.
S.C. State shot 7-of-17 from deep but just 35 percent from the field, 29 percent in the second half. The Bulldogs made 15-of-20 from the free throw line.
Freshman Yoro Sidibe chipped in with eight points, six rebounds and three blocks for NSU. In addition to winning the rebounding battle 41-32, the Spartans held the advantage in points in the paint, 28-20.
NSU will host Florida A&M on 7 p.m. on Monday.