BIRMINGHAM, Ala. | It had been 10 years since Stillman College last won a SIAC championship, and Saturday night it had the chance to win another one. The Tigers used a late second half run to capture a 90-76 victory over LeMoyne-Owen and the SIAC Championship trophy.
"We've been doing this for 156 days. All for this day right now, and that's what it's about," Stillman coach Donte Jackson said. "We've been working for this championship and I am proud of these guys."
On Dec. 1, Stillman lost in overtime to drop to 4-4. Since then, Stillman lost one game, and won 22 games all the way through Saturday, including 17 in a row. Now the Tigers have earned an automatic bid to the Division II NCAA basketball tournament.
"We are going to take the same attitude into the tournament," Jackson said. "We are going to play one possession at a time. We are going to sacrifice for one another, because at the end of the day none of us want this to end."
In the second half, Stillman had a 66-64 lead with just over six minutes remaining. The Tigers went on a 12-0 run sparked by a Maurice Crenshaw 3-pointer and an Antonio Penny dunk. The Tigers didn't let the Magicians within a possession of the lead again.
"I told our guys that (LeMoyne-Owen) would make a run, but we've got to stay together," Jackson said. Before we do anything we have to believe in us, and (we) came out and believed the whole time."
The two players that led the team in scoring all year had another big game. Ronald Singleton scored 22 points and SIAC Player of the Year Rodnerius Lewis scored 18. Penny also had another big night with 17 points and six assists, and was named MVP of the tournament.
"I can't do anything without these (teammates) right here," Penny said. "Coach has confidence in me like I have confidence in the rest of my (teammates)."
Stillman will find out on Sunday what seed it will have in the South Region of the Division II tournament.