Senior forward Matthew Hezekiah tossed in a season-high 26 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as SC State dropped a tough, 78-72, defeat to Florida A&M Saturday at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center.
Senior guard Adama "Louis "Adams added 18 and freshman point guard Jalen White chipped in 10 in the loss. SC State falls to 5-12 overall, 1-3 in the MEAC, while FAMU improves to 7-11 overall, 3-2 in the league.
SC State shot 79.2% (19-of-24) from the free-throw line, while out-rebounding the Rattlers 44-35 on the night. Turnovers seemed to be the deciding factor down the stretch as the Bulldogs committed 21 costly turnovers.
"A very disappointing night for us (team)," said SC State head coach Murray Garvin. "You can't beat anyone if you don't take care of the basketball and commit the kind of turnovers the way we did."
FAMU had four players in double figures with senior guard Jamie Adams leading the way with a game-high 27 points and six rebounds. Sophomore forward Trey Kellum had a key double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while forward Jomari Bradshaw and guard Reggie Lewis added 12, respectively.
SC State, down 31-36 at the half, fell behind as many as 12, 42-54, in the second-half off a driving layup by Bradshaw at the 15:21 mark. An alley-hoop dunk by sophomore forward Daryll Palmer cut the lead to four, 50-54 with 12:53 remaining in regulation.
Adams pulled the Bulldogs within three, 72-75, off a layup with 0:37 seconds remaining. FAMU's Jamie Adams converted on a pair of free-throws from the charity stripe to secure the 78-72 victory for the Rattlers with 0:09 seconds remaining in the contest.
Garvin commented on the play of his big man in the middle, All-MEAC forward Matthew Hezekiah, but also stated the turnovers really concerned him.
"Hezekiah played another outstanding night but we have to be able to provide him with some help," Garvin said. "We have to take care of the basketball and limit our turnovers moving forward."
"It's still a lot of basketball left to be played. We as a team can't and won't let this one game turn into two so we have to keep pushing and getting better."
The Bulldogs return to the court Monday when they host Bethune-Cookman in another league doubleheader, with the women beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the men following immediately afterwards.
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