Savannah State misses its way into record books vs. K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) -- Kansas State's students started heckling Savannah State players well before tip-off, razzing them about their shoes, their hair. By the end of the game, they were cheering for the Tigers, hoping for at least one basket.

Kansas State coach Frank Martin sat calmly during the scoring drought, pleased with his team's defensive effort, but uncomfortable inside, almost cringing with each errant pass and off-target shot.

And Savannah State coach Horace Broadnax, all he could do was offer a weak smile while watching his team miss its way into the record books.

"It was good -- I was hoping we'd set a record," Broadnax said with a chuckle after it was over.

The thing about dubious records is that few people want to see you do it. That's what happened at Bramlage Coliseum Monday night, when Savannah State set NCAA records for fewest points and worst field goal percentage in a half in the shot-clock era, shooting 4.3 percent while being outscored 48-4 in the second half of an 85-25 loss to Kansas State.

Savannah State at least missed the all-time record for fewest points in a half. That distinction goes to North Carolina, which trailed 7-0 to Duke at halftime of a 1979 game when Tar Heels coach Dean Smith deployed his four corners offense.

The all-time record for fewest points in a game is six, accomplished first by Arkansas State in a 75-6 loss to Kentucky in 1945, then again by Temple in an 11-6 loss to Tennessee in 1973.

But those were different times, before the shot clock was instituted in 1986, forcing teams to take shots and sending scores higher. Savannah State did it the hard way, missing all but one of its 23 shots and turning it over nine times in the second half.

The Tigers finished with nine field goals overall -- 4-of-15 on 3-pointers -- and were just four points from matching the NCAA record for fewest points in game in the shot-clock era, set by Georgia Southern in a 61-21 loss to Coastal Carolina in 1997 and matched by Princeton in a 41-21 loss to Monmouth in 2005.

But Savannah State has had its share of lopsided losses, including an 83-23 setback to Oregon in 2005, so Broadnax knows how to get his players back in the right frame of mind.

"The lesson I want them to learn is a life lesson: can you move on?" he said. "I don't think this is the worst-case scenario in these guys' lives. I don't like it, it doesn't feel good, but I'm going to move on."

Savannah State made the jump to Division I in 2002 and struggled mightily, going 0-28 in 2004-05 and 2-28 the next season. The Tigers took a big step last year, winning 12 games, including eight against Division I opponents -- four more than the previous four seasons combined.

Savannah State had a big win its previous game, beating Conference USA's Southern Mississippi 61-56 on Friday. It has had plenty of practice this year, playing a schedule that seems more suited for a baseball team, with 21 games already crossed off the schedule.

The Tigers are scrappy, but they just don't have the bulk to match up against bigger teams from conferences like the Big 12. Savannah State isn't a particularly good shooting team to begin with -- 39 percent on the season -- and was forced to the perimeter against the bigger and stronger Wildcats. And once they started missing, they couldn't stop.

"They played physical; it's Big 12 basketball," Broadnax said. "We've been playing a lot of road games, there's a little wear and tear on us, probably. We have been having some problems with the zone and we just didn't put the ball in the basket."

Savannah State had trouble from the start, going without a field goal for nearly seven minutes, shooting 8-of-35 to trail by 16 at halftime.

Then things got really ugly.

The Tigers opened the second half with two turnovers and four missed shots, finally getting a point when Anthony Jones hit 1-of-2 free throws. For the next 10 minutes, Savannah State kept missing shots and throwing the ball away, creating a buzz in the arena as Kansas State fans started to realize what was happening.

By the time Joseph Flegler hit a 3-pointer from the wing with 5:48 left, finally ending the drought at 15 straight misses, Kansas State's fans were openly cheering for Savannah State to score and Martin could hardly watch.

"It was not something I was comfortable with," said Martin, who is friends with Broadnax and Tigers assistant Jay Gibbons.

Unfortunately, the misses kept coming.

Jones failed on a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left and the Tigers opted to hold the ball in the closing seconds instead of attempting another shot. By the time it was over, Savannah State had been outscored by six different Kansas State players in the second half, including low-scoring center Luis Colon, who had five points to boost his 1.4-point average.

"They were playing hard," said Kansas State forward Michael Beasley, who had 25 points and 10 rebounds. "They just weren't knocking shots down. They had a couple open shots, just couldn't hit them. That was just crazy. I've never seen that."

Few people have.