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Races shift entering February

South Carolina State went into Tidewater Virginia this weekend and came out with a split, losing to Norfolk State 87-74 on Saturday before handing Hampton its first conference loss Monday, 67-62. Six-three junior guard Eric Eaves (16.4 ppg.) continued his sterling play for SC State with 21 points in the loss to Norfolk State and 18 in the win over Hampton. But several others also came thru vs. Hampton.

Six-seven sophomore forward Tashombe Riley had 10 points and 10 rebounds 6-8 senior center Darryl Palmer had 10 points and 8 rebounds helping the ‘Dawgs to a decisive 47-42 edge on the boards. Sophomore guard Ty Solomon hit a big three and two key free throws in the final minute to seal the win.

The results leave Tidewater rivals Hampton (7-1) and Norfolk (6-1) virtually tied atop the conference with just one loss and Murray Garvin’s SCSU Bulldogs right in the thick of the race at 6-2. Howard (3-1) also has just one loss in league play. The big showdown is this Saturday when the leaders (NSU and Hampton) meet at Hampton’s Convocation Center. SC State plays Saturday at Delaware State. Howard is at Morgan State Saturday and at Maryland-Eastern Shore on Monday.

The race in the CIAA Northern Division tightened up as Virginia State handed Chowan its first conference loss (75-70) Wednesday. Elijah Moore’s 25 points and 11 rebounds led the Trojans. VSU, Chowan, Virginia Union and Lincoln now have one loss in the division as the race heads to its final month. The leaders tangle this week as Va. Union is at Chowan Saturday while Virginia State is at Lincoln. J. C. Smith moved out to 3-0 in the Southern Division with an 89-81 win over Livingstone Monday. JCSU is at Shaw (1-1, 5-2) Saturday.

Texas Southern got big wins over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (78-49) and Mississippi Valley State (75-60) to remain unbeaten (7-0) and on top of the SWAC race. Mike Davis is getting great play from redshirt freshman (and football star) Derrick Griffin who had double-doubles in each game tallying 16 points and 17 boards vs. MVSU and 13 points and 13 rebounds vs. UAPB.

But Davis is also getting great contributions from his veterans. Seniors Malcolm Riley (6-5) and David Blanks (6-3) scored in double figures in both games. Riley had 18 and 16 while Blanks had 17 and 15. The Tigers will try to keep the ball rolling with trips into Alabama this week at Alabama State Saturday and at Alabama A&M Monday.

Benedict, on a five-game win streak, stayed on top of the SIAC East with wins over Fort Valley State (78-61) and Albany State (56-48). Rydealous Taylor averaged 15.5 ppg. in the wins. Stillman, also on a five-game streak, moved past Miles into the West Division lead with wins over Spring Hill (83-78) and Clark Atlanta (89-72). Rodnerius Lewis (20.6 ppg.) averaged 22.5 points in the two wins. Benedict is at Clark Atlanta on Thursday and at Claflin Saturday before hosting Morehouse Monday. Stillman is at LeMoyne-Owen Saturday.

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