Close but no wins for Savannah St.

By wire services
Published February 15, 2005

SAVANNAH, Ga. - Savannah State went 0-for-the-season.

The Tigers became the second Division I school in a half-century to go winless, losing to Florida A&M 49-44 Monday night to finish 0-28.

Savannah State didn't go down without a fight, managing its closest loss. The Tigers tied it at 41 with 1:57 left when Donald Carson, son of former Giants linebacker Harry Carson, hit two free throws.

But Michael Harper put Florida A&M ahead for good 12 seconds later with two free throws. Mark Williams hit a long 3-pointer with 14 seconds left to pull Savannah State within 45-44, but Tony Tate clinched it at the free-throw line, making six straight in the final 24 seconds.

"It's unbelievable," senior Sherard Reddick said. "It doesn't feel like we lost 28 games this season. I guess God is testing us."

The Tigers also had a chance to lead at halftime for the first time all season. But Michael Ayodele hit a 3 with eight seconds left, putting Florida A&M ahead 28-26.

The Rattlers were clearly relieved to get out with a win. In the frantic final seconds, Darius Glover tried to calm his teammates during a timeout: "Come on, guys. Relax. Relax."

When Carson shot an air ball on a desperation 3-pointer that could have forced overtime, Florida A&M coach Mike Gillespie walked in front of the bench and said defiantly, "We won the ... game."

Savannah State couldn't say that all season, joining Prairie View in the hall of infamy. The Texas school went 0-28 in 1991-92.

Savannah State won four last season but had to forfeit those because of an ineligible player, the son of coach Edward Daniels, no less. Officially, the school has a 55-game losing streak.

This time, the Tigers completed a winless season without having to rely on forfeits. They lost by an average of 23 points.