Norfolk State holds off South Carolina State 78-72

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ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) -- Malcolm Hawkins and Rob Johnson combined for 41 points Monday night as Norfolk State beat South Carolina State 78-72 in a matchup between Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams.

Hawkins had 21 points and five rebounds while Johnson posted 20 points and seven boards for Norfolk State (5-5, 2-0), which has won three-straight after losing its previous four games.

Rashid Gaston came off the bench to pull down nine rebounds for the Spartans, who held a 43-41 rebounding edge.

Norfolk State led 40-28 at halftime behind a 14-of-34 shooting performance -- including five 3-pointers. The Spartans held South Carolina State to just 26.5 percent (9 of 34) during the frame.

South Carolina State (4-3, 0-1) improved to 45.5 percent (15 of 33) shooting after intermission but Norfolk State hit 15 of 24 free throws in the second half to pull away.

Darryl Palmer led South Carolina State with 19 points.