By Chris Megginson Sports Information (SID2Go) Stillman
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Stillman College avenged a November road loss and opened its February home schedule with a bang Thursday, Feb. 3, knocking off No. 2 Talladega College, 64-57, on Greek Night in a showdown of the NAIA’s top HBCU men’s basketball programs. The win is Stillman’s highest-ranked victory in program history, and second over an NAIA Top 5 program since joining the NAIA, while moving the Tigers to 15-4, 7-4 in the Southern States Athletic Conference and handing Talladega (20-2, 10-1) its first conference loss.
Stillman’s defense held Talladega to a season-low 57 points, while holding the Southern States Athletic Conference leading scorer, Darryl Baker to 13 points on a season-low 30.8% shooting (4-of-13). Baker entered the game averaging 19.3 points per game. The Tornadoes shot 35.5% as a team from the floor and 55.6% at the free throw line.
Virgil Fields put Stillman on the board, 3-2, less than a minute into the game when he hit a 3 as the shot clock expired. It was the first of many shot clock buzzer beaters for the Tigers through the night, as both teams’ defense forced their opponent to use its full time on most possessions through the night.
After each team scored on its first possession it took another three minutes before either found the basket again, trading the lead four times in less than 40 seconds. It was another two minutes though before Devin Merriweather hit a 3 to create the first two-possession lead of the night with Stillman up, 10-6 at 13:18. A Fields’ jumper, Merriweather 3 and Derrick Finklea jumper expanded the Tigers’ lead, 17-6, with 10 minutes played.
Baker hit a 3 with 4:40 left in the half to work it back to a one-possession game, 19-16, followed by consecutive baskets by Edwin Louis, including a fast-break steal and layup with 3:33 left for Talladega to regain the lead, 20-19.
Tomias Brand answered though, 22-20, beating the shot clock with a 3 in front of the Tornadoes’ bench after first dropping the ball and scooping it up with two seconds left. After Talladega tied it, Stillman scored the last five points of the half, including a halftime buzzer-beater by Merriweather, to lead 27-22 at the break. Merriweatehr had 14 points in the game.
Stillman maintained its lead into the second half until Cam Potts stole the ball and raced the other way for a fast-break dunk to tie it, 36-36, with 13:49 left. After a stop and Potts rebound, Trevon Adams gave the Tornadoes the lead, 39-36, with 13:17 left. Adams later made it an eight-point game, 44-36, with another 3, assisted by Potts, before King scored to stop a five-minute Stillman scoring drought.
Adams, who led Talladega with 14 points and four 3-pointers, held Stillman at bay with a 3-pointer to go up 47-40, but the Tigers answered with a four-minute, 12-0 run to lead 52-47. Adams later pushed Dega back in front, 53-52, with another 3-pointer, as the lead changed hands four times in a minute.
Once King regained the lead, 56-55, with 2:37 left, the Tigers never lost it. Brand hit a 3-pointer with 31 seconds left to give some breathing room, 59-55, and then stole the ball near midcourt and threw it down on the other end, 61-55. He finished with 13 points off the bench.
King, who led all players with 16 players, hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute for Stillman and Adams added a layup at the buzzer to cap the night.
The Tigers shot 38.7% (24-of-62) in the game, and were out-rebounded 42-39, but forced 14 turnovers and drew 16 fouls.
Stillman has seven games remaining over the next 16 days to close the regular season. The stretch begins with a trip to Dalton State College for the Roadrunner’s Homecoming in Mashburn Arena on Saturday, Feb. 5. Tip is 1 p.m. CT / 2 p.m. ET. The Tigers will then travel to Middle Georgia on Monday, Feb. 7 before returning home to host Oakwood next Thursday, Feb. 10 at 8 p.m.