Chris Martin scored 21, Lenjo Kilo had 10 points and 12 rebounds and fifth-seeded Savannah State beat No. 12 seed Delaware State 63-58 on Monday night in the first round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament.
Delaware State missed two 3-pointers on one possession that started with 19.2 seconds left and then fouled Martin, who hit two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining for a two-possession lead.
Troyce Manassa added 13 points for Savannah State (15-14), which will play No. 4 seed Bethune-Cookman in the second round on Thursday.
Kavon Waller led Delaware State (7-25) with 15 points. The Hornets were 16-of-28 shooting (57 percent) in the first half, but they only made 6 of 22 in the second.
Even after seeing a 42-31 lead fade, Delaware State made one last stand down the stretch and had a pair of six-point leads.
DeAndre Haywood’s steal and fast-break dunk opened up the second half scoring and gave Delaware State a 10-point lead.
A Martin lay-up gave Savannah State a 52-51 lead, then after a Delaware State three-pointer, Kamil Williams hit a wide open three in transition that made it 55-53 with 3:57 left.
Dana Raysor’s three with 2:45 left gave the Hornets their final lead of the game at 58-57.
Kilo hit a jumper with 2:21 left that made it 59-58 and the Tigers held the Hornets scoreless the rest of the way. All Savannah State needed was a pair of free throws from both Troyce Manassa (13 points) and Martin to preserve the win.
Raysor had eight of his 13 in the first half as Delaware State led by 12 points on three first-half occasions. The Hornets settled for a 37-29 halftime advantage.
Haywood added 10 points for the Hornets.
“This is one of those games you hate to end a season on,” said Delaware State coach Keith Walker. “We played well enough to win, but we had execution issues — a few missed shots and a couple of turnovers — that made the difference.”