SAVANNAH, Ga. – Jasmine Norman broke a tie by making two free throws with 16 seconds left, and Norfolk State guard Rae Corbo missed a potential tying jumper at the final buzzer as the Spartans fell to host Savannah State, 56-54, on Monday night at Tiger Arena.The loss was the second in a row for the Spartans (6-13, 5-3 MEAC), who were led by Kayla Roberts‘ 13 points.
NSU led 54-53 after a layup by Ronesia Spicer with 2:33 remaining in the game. But that would be NSU’s final two points of the night. Norman hit 1-of-2 from the line to tie the game just 11 seconds later. The Spartans came up empty on their final four trips of the night, missing field goals on each trip.
Spartan guard Koryn Lawrence missed a shot that would have given NSU the lead with 26 seconds left, and SSU guard Ezinne Kalu rebounded. Following an SSU timeout with 17 seconds left, the Tigers inbounded to Norman underneath the basket and she drew a foul.
After Norman hit her two free throws, the Spartans called timeout to set up a final play. But Corbo’s long jumper bounced off the rim as time expired.
The Spartans started slowly and trailed 23-10 after a Norman layup with 12:25 remaining in the first half. NSU bounced back and wrested the lead from SSU heading into the half. The Spartans outscored the Tigers 13-3 over the final seven minutes of the opening period. The run included points from six different Spartans, including Spicer, Aivah Parham and Io Chaney off the NSU bench.
Roberts then closed the half with five straight points on a 3-pointer and a layup to give NSU its first lead of the night, 31-30, going into the locker room.
Kalu and Kenyatta Hendrix each hit a 3-pointer early in the second half to put SSU back ahead by five. The Spartans stayed in it thanks to their defense, which held SSU to 30.6 percent shooting (28.6 in the second half). Rhianna Warren’s jumper with 7:37 left in the game again pushed the Tiger lead to five, 53-48. But NSU held SSU without a field goal for the rest of the game.
Roberts scored four straight to cut SSU’s lead to one before Spicer gave the Spartans the one-point edge, 54-53, with 2:33 left. But the Spartans couldn’t hang on.
Kalu led SSU with 17 points and nine rebounds. Norman added 13 and Hendrix 10 for the Tigers, though the trio combined to shoot just 11-of-38.
The Tigers, though, managed to hold Corbo to a season-low eight points on 3-of-14 shooting. She had scored in double figures in 14 straight games since a nine-point effort against Hofstra on Nov. 23.
Roberts, with 13 points, was the only Spartan in double figures. Jazamine Gray added eight points and eight assists. Amber Brown had a team-high nine rebounds and Roberts grabbed seven. Roberts and Gray both had three steals.
The Spartans return home for their next three games, starting with the Battle of the Bay against rival Hampton at 4 p.m. Saturday at Echols Hall.
Originally Posted on NSUSpartans.com