ends 25-year title drought
Posted on Sun, Feb. 19, 2006, The State Newspaper
Benedict ends 25-year title drought
Tigers hit 19 of 23 second-half shots to avenge loss
to Stillman, win SIAC
By JOHN DEVLIN
Benedict College rallied from a dismal first-half
performance Saturday to pull off a 75-65 victory against
Stillman that clinched the Tigers’ first Southern Intercollegiate
Athletic Conference regular-season championship in
The Senior Night win kept the Tigers unbeaten at the
Benjamin E. Mays Human Resources Center this season
and avenged their only conference setback.
Benedict (20-4, 18-1) trailed 33-25 at halftime while
shooting 25 percent from the field. But the Tigers
dominated after the break by changing the tempo of
Benedict had nine steals and hit 19 of 23 shots from
the field in the second half to outscore Stillman 50-32.
“Our plan was to stay close in the first half and
then make the adjustments we needed at halftime,” Tigers
coach Fred Watson said. “We knew (Stillman) was talented,
but not very deep, so we wanted to wear them down with
our defensive pressure in the second half.”
Taiwan Byrd, Leslie Brown, Joel Brown, Malik McCullough and Joshua Obiajunwa all made huge contributions to
Benedict’s first league championship at the NCAA Division
II level since the 1980-81 season. The Tigers won nine
consecutive conference titles in the 1990s while playing
at the NAIA level.
Byrd led the Tigers with 18 points. He scored 14 of
those points in the second half, when he went 6-for-6
from the field.
Leslie Brown scored all 15 of his points in the second
half, making all six of his shots. Joel Brown scored
nine of his 12 points after the break.
McCullough and Obiajunwa made key plays with less
than four minutes to go that broke open what had been
a back-and-forth affair.
McCullough hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions
to stake the Tigers to a 67-61 lead. Obiajunwa set
up both McCullough 3s with passes from the low post.
The 6-for-6 forward then blocked a shot and found Byrd
for a layup that gave Benedict a 69-61 lead with 2:17
“I’m real comfortable shooting in that situation,”
said McCullough, who scored eight of his nine points
in the second half.
Obiajunwa finished with eight points, eight rebounds
and four assists.
“You can talk about all the X’s and O’s you want,
but what it really came down to was what team wanted
it more,” Byrd said. “This team beat us bad (70-53),
and we just weren’t going to let them do it again at
Source: The State Newspaper
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