Benedict takes on Miles for the SIAC Championship and an NCAA Division II tournament berth on Saturday, March 4.
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The game (7 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on TV, but anyone in the US can watch Miles vs Benedict live on ESPN+ right here:
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Miles vs Benedict Preview
Benedict (22-9) and Miles (22-6) clash for the SIAC crown and a trip to the Division II version of the Big Dance when the two meet on Saturday in Savannah, Georgia. Benedict’s Brandon Beidleman hasn’t forgotten how last year’s championship game went for the Tigers.
“Last year, we lost in the championship,” Beidleman said via ABC Columbia. “I don’t like that feeling, and I refuse to let it happen again.”
Benedict downed Kentucky State 83-71 in the semifinals on Friday. Asanti Price led Benedict with 24 points and eight rebounds. Dontavius King and Beidleman scored 16 points apiece for the Tigers.
“I told our guys all we had to do was keep the game close, put pressure on them and wear them down in the first half, and those legs will get tired in the second half,” Benedict head coach Artis Maddox said via ABC Columbia. “As you saw in the second half, some of the shots came up a little short, and we were able to get rebounds and leak-out dunks. But it all started with the defense. We just wanted to try and wear them down.”
The Tigers reached the semifinals after a 78-68 win over Savannah State on Thursday. Tim Moore led the Tigers with 20 points and five rebounds. Brandon Smith scored 18 points and tallied four rebounds and two assists. Beidleman added 11 points.
Previously, Benedict edged LeMoyne-Owen 82-81 the second opening round on February 28 to advance to the quarterfinals. Benedict also beat Central State 79-67 to open the tournament on February 25.
Miles beat Morehouse 72-67 in overtime on Friday, March 3, to advance to the championship game. Eddie Smith led Miles with 21 points, and Rodney Battle added 17 points. Battle also grabbed 10 rebounds, and Corey Trotter stepped up in the post with three blocks for the Golden Bears.
Previously, Miles beat Edward Waters 71-52 on Thursday, March 2, in the quarterfinals to advance. Battle led the way with 18 points and four rebounds. Smith also had a strong game with 11 points and seven boards.
Benedict and Miles met only once in the regular season, which Miles won 69-66 on December 15. Battle led Miles with 21 points, and Smith added 11 points amid foul trouble. Moore and Gob Gabriel each had 14 points for Benedict in the loss.
Miles comes into Saturday’s game with a six-game winning streak and winners of eight of the last nine contests. The only loss came by a point in overtime to Kentucky State 84-83 on February 4.
Benedict has a nine-game winning streak, and Tigers have only lost once since January 28.