NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A free throw with 1.2 seconds left by Jaleel Queary proved to be the difference in the Tennessee State men’s basketball team’s, 69-68, exhibition victory over Lemoyne-Owen on Monday night.
The scoring went back and forth for the last seven minutes of the contest with neither team going up by more than one basket. Lemoyne-Owen pulled ahead by one at, 68-67, with a jumper at the one-minute mark.
Queary hit the back end of a pair of free throws on TSU’s next possession to tie the game and the Tigers forced a stop on defense to setup one final shot with 6.9 seconds remaining.
Patrick Miller drove the ball down the floor, faked a shot and dished it to Queary underneath the basket. The JUCO transfer went up for the shot and was fouled with 1.7 left. Queary made the front end, but the Magicians pulled down the miss on his second attempt.
Miller broke up the ensuing inbound pass and the Tigers hung on for the narrow, one-point win.
Miller paced the Tigers with 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting including a 11-for-13 mark from the charity stripe. The Chicago, Ill. native also had a game-high five assists and added four boards.
Forward Michael Green got the Tigers’ offense going, draining the team’s first two hoops with one-handed floaters in the lane. TSU scored the game’s first eight points before the Magicians broke through with a pair of buckets to trim the lead to 8-4.
Lemoyne-Owen kept hanging around and even tied the game at 16 with 11 minutes to go before halftime. The 9-0 Magician run prompted head coach Travis Williams to burn a timeout to regroup.
His team responded with a 9-2 stretch that was led by five points from Green, including the Tigers’ only three pointer of the period at the 10:09 mark.
Green finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added three rebounds.
A highlight reel moment for the Tigers came with 4:33 left to play before halftime, as Miller stole the ball near his own three-point line and flipped the ball to Jay Harris. Harris took a few dribbles and then threw the ball up in the air where M.J. Rhett caught it near the rim and slammed it down with two hands. The jam put the Tigers up, 30-24.
Harris missed a three-pointer at the buzzer and TSU went into the locker room clinging to a, 36-32, lead.
The Tigers were 1-of-14 from three point land during the first 20 minutes, but held the Magicians to a 0-for-7 line from deep.
Miller led all scorers at the break with 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting. The senior made 8-of-9 from the charity stripe and added a pair of rebounds and steals.
The Magicians opened the second half on an 11-4 run to take the lead at 43-40. The string was punctuated by a fast-break dunk from LO’s Victor Shell with just over 15 minutes to play.
The Tigers finally retook the lead when Harris nailed a jumper at the 11:52 mark to put his team up by one. The advantage didn’t last long as Lemoyne-Owen nailed a three the next time down the floor to make the score, 48-46.
The Magicians saw their lead swell to six when Jean Mathieu poured in a triple with just under 10 to go.
TSU rebounded, however, as Jaleel Queary was intentionally fouled and Jordan Gaither made both freebies. The Tigers got the ball following the shots and Miller found Kennedy Eubanks wide open off of the inbound for a strong two-handed dunk. The slam brought the Tiger faithful to their feet and put Tennessee State ahead, 55-54, with a little over seven minutes left in the game.
The game see-sawed from that point, setting up the thrilling finish.
TSU was outshot 37.5 percent to 39 percent and outrebounded 41-38, but the Tigers forced three more turnovers and made plays when they had to.
Rhett was TSU’s second leading scorer with 13 points on 3-of-5 shooting. The redshirt junior had seven points from the charity stripe and had four rebounds.
Eubanks led the Tigers with eight boards.
The Tigers will start regular season play on Friday night at the University of Hawai’i for the three-game Rainbow Classic.