Greene County News
AKRON — Playing in the Fame City Classic, the Central State Marauders erased a 13-point halftime deficit to defeat Benedict College, 76-70, on Saturday.
A preseason pick to finish first in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s East Division, Benedict opened the game on a 13-3 run. The Marauders answered with a 10-0 run capped off by a Jeremy Brown dunk to tie the game, 13-13, at the 9:17 mark of the first half. BC regained momentum thanks to the play of Jaylin Gilbert, who hit two quick baskets in transition as the Tigers went on a 9-0 run to take a 22-13 lead with 7:04 remaining in the first half. The Tigers’ lead increased to 16 after a Justice Morgan layup made the score 34-18 with 3:04 left before halftime. Back-to-back baskets by Dwight Richard, Jr. helped CSU narrow the gap to 39-26 at halftime as the Marauders looked to regroup and make adjustments.
Marauder point guard Keilan Blanks opened the second half by hitting three straight jumpers from beyond the arc as the Marauders went on an 11-0 run to suddenly cut the deficit down to 39-37. Richard, Jr. hit a mid-range shot to give the Marauders their first lead, 44-43, with 14:10 left in the game. CSU seized control midway through the second half with as another Richard, Jr. basket capped off an 8-2 run to put CSU ahead 55-47 at the 10:13 mark. The Marauders slowly built on their lead over the next 5 minutes of play. A Blanks layup gave CSU its largest lead, 66-52, with 4:53 remaining.
CSU maintained a comfortable lead entering the final minute of play. Benedict refused to go away quietly as Rashee Hodges hit back-to-back three pointers and Michael Udume scored from mid-range to cut the lead down to 73-70 with 19 seconds remaining. The Marauders were able to secure the 76-70 win in the final seconds thanks to successful makes from the free throw line from Markese McGuire and Frank Barber III.
The Marauders forced Benedict into 23 turnovers and took a 27-22 edge in points scored off giveaways. CSU also held a 13-7 advantage in fast-break points.
Richard, Jr. led all players with 18 points. Richard, Jr. was extremely efficient, converting 8 of 10 shot attempts. Blanks finished with 17 points, four assists and four steals. Barber II chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds as Central State improved to 3-2 overall.
Benedict was paced by Justice Morgan’s 11 points and six assists. The Tigers fell to 0-3 on the season.
The Marauders continue their long stretch of road games when they travel Tuesday, Nov. 29 to Orangeburg, S.C. to begin SIAC play against Claflin University. Tuesday’s contest will be the fifth of nine consecutive road games for the Marauders.
Story provided by Nick Novy of Central State University Athletics.