Savannah State was within four points, 54-50, after Demarcus Bryant's 3-pointer with 1:18 left. Terel Hall added a free throw with 10 seconds left and missed a second that Brian Pearson was able to put back to get within a point with two seconds left. South Carolina State's Greg Mortimer scored on the game's final play.
Mortimer led the Bulldogs (10-17, 7-5 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) with 11 points and Tashombe Riley added 10.
Hall led the Tigers (6-18, 2-8) with 18 points.
South Carolina State shot 43.9 percent to Savannah State's 32.8 but the Tigers had a 44-33 rebounding edge, including 19 offensive boards, and took one more shot than the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs were only 18 of 28 from the free-throw line but the Tigers were just 11 of 23.