Savannah State eludes celebratory cork pop

In 1976, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went a franchise worst 0-14. They were the only team in NFL history to do so.

Every year the hosts of ESPN’s NFL Primetime, a weekly post-game show recapping the NFL games that day, play a sound bite of the popping of a champagne cork and toast the last team to finally win its first game.

Savannah State University players thought they were going to be popping corks as they took on FAMU Wednesday. Unfortunately, FAMU did some popping of its own by popping Savannah State’s bubble.

After Wednesday’s loss, Savannah State fell to 0-25. If the players hope to avoid being the 15th Division I team to go winless in a season, they will have to do it soon as they have three games left.

They face Mercer, Bethune-Cookman and FAMU again to end their season.

When asked how the team plans to reverse its winless ways, Savannah State Assistant coach Brian Fisher said the coaches have to encourage their players to play hard each game and play for their pride.

Savannah State has yet to go into the locker room with a lead this season. They also have lost every game except two by double figures.

They thought both of those statistics would change Wednesday night as the lead went back and forth until the last six plus minutes of the first half. They never got any closer than seven in the second half as they were outscored by FAMU 48-31 in the second half.

College basketball’s RPI (rating per index) ranks Savannah State at 328 out of 330 Division I schools. Savannah’s average margin of defeat of 24 points per game is tops in the nation. They are also last in free throw percentage and assists. Despite constantly having their backs up against the wall, Fisher stays positive.

“A loss is a loss,” Fisher said.

The key to getting a victory, Fisher said, is to play as a collective unit.

“There is no ‘I’ in team,” he said.

If it is any consolation to their struggling, they are not alone.

Their softball team went winless last season, being outscored 166-20 in their last 20 games. Their women’s basketball team set an NCAA record for fewest points in a half, scoring three as they were blown out by Florida State 107-28.

But the basketball team can blame its winless way on the players off the court as well as on. Jamal Daniels, a starter and son of Head Coach Edward Daniels Jr., was ruled ineligible for failing to register for classes.

The Savannah State men’s basketball team will have three more chances to earn a victory.

FAMU is Savannah’s last game of a forgettable season, but FAMU must be ready because it could quite possibly be playing a team that has absolutely nothing to lose.

As for Savannah State players, until they get that first victory, they will have to keep those celebratory bottles corked.

Contact Arize Ifejika at