The 2021 senior class for Miles men’s basketball has been one of the most celebrated in school history. Playing in possibly their last games with the Golden Bears, the group of Nathan Ferguson, Joel Logan, Ryan Calhoun, Richard Feagin, Jelani Watson-Gayle, and Avery Brown went out in style, sweeping a pair of games from Savannah State (0-2). On Saturday, Miles (10-1) dominated in a 64-42 victory. Sunday’s effort at Knox-Windham Gymnasium was slightly more arduous but the Golden Bears still triumphed, 58-42.
SATURDAY – Miles 64, Savannah State 42
After trading baskets early, Miles used a 12-0 run to take control of the game against Savannah State, which hit the floor for the first time this season. Yasim Hooker (10 points, six rebounds) scored six points and Brown added four more during the stretch that gave the Golden Bears a 14-4 lead just more than six minutes into the game. I never got much better for the Tigers from there as they would not get closer than nine points the remainder of the game. Brown (game-high 21 points) would score the last seven points of the half, including a 3-pointer at the horn, to give the Golden Bears a 36-17 lead at the break.
The Golden Bears continued to pour it on in the second half. They scored the first eight points of the second half, the last four coming from Watson-Gayle, for a commanding 44-17 advantage barely three minutes into the second half. SSU would never get closer than 17 points, which happened midway through the second half. Miles put the exclamation point on the game with a late 9-0 surge, punctuated by Hooker, who blocked a shot, grabbed the rebound, dribbled coast-to-coast, then slammed it home on a defender with one hand.. Two free throws from Patrick Rucker after that play gave Miles a 29-point lead – its largest of the contest – with 1:17 remaining.
Trey DeLoach had 17 points and Andrew Okorodudu added 10 points to lead Savannah State. Watson-Gayle had 10 points and Anthony Latty added seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Miles.
SUNDAY – Miles 58, Savannah State 42
The Golden Bears blew a six-point halftime lead early in the second half but were able to gain their composure and win going away.
A day after coasting to victory, Miles had trouble getting any separation from the Tigers. But with the score tied with six minutes left in the first half, the Golden Bears scored seven straight points and ended the period on an 11-3 run to go into the half with a 26-18 lead.
That wasn’t enough to get Savannah State to fold. The Tigers scored the first nine points of the second half and when Marcus Scott drained a 3-pointer less than four minutes into the half, SSU had taken a 27-26 lead. But on the ensuing possession, Watson-Gayle (game-high 20 points) converted a three-point play to put Miles back in front and started an 8-0 run that effectively took control of the contest with 12 minutes to go.
Savannah State stayed close but was never able to get closer than five points of the lead the rest of the way. When Feagin (10 points) scored with 5:52 left, the Golden Bears had expanded their lead into double digits for the first time, 44-34. The lead would get as large as 14 points inside the final minute and Miles would close out its season with six straight wins.
DeLoach (16 points) was the only player in double figures for Savannah State. Avery Brown had 11 points, four rebounds and four assists and Jacorian Dalton added eight points and four rebounds for Miles.