The Tennessee State Tigers (2-3), playing in the Top of the World Classic at Fairbanks, Alaska trailed the Akron Zips (2-1) by 10 points, 38-28, at halftime. The Tigers mounted a second half rally outscoring Akron 44-36, but lose the game 74-72 on a jumper with 0:04 remaining.
The Tigers got a season-high 22 points from junior forward Jerrell Houston, with support from LaDarious Weaver (12) and Bruce Price (10), but committed 17 turnovers and gave up 22 points off turnovers. Houston pulled down a game-high 9 rebounds and Bruce dished out a game-high 9 assists.
Statistically, TSU out-rebounded Akron 30-27, but the game was relatively equal with TSU hitting 26-of 49 (53.1%) from the field to Akron’s 26-of-52 (50%). Both teams connected on eight 3-pointers, 8-14 for TSU and 8-24 for Akron. The Zips, however, hit 14-of-23 FTs to the Tigers 12-of-15 FTs.
The Tigers got off to a slow start, falling behind 0-4 at 18:30 and 4-12 at 14:39. TSU went on a 12-6 run to pull into a tie (18-18) with 8:06 remaining in the half. and took a 22-20 lead at 6:04 on a steal and lay-up by Jerrell Houston. Akron went on an 18-6 run to end the half with a 38-28 lead.
In the second half, Akron pushed their lead to 12 points (45-33) with 16:53 remaining in the game. TSU responded with a 13-1 run to tie the game at 46-46 with 12:47 remaining on a pair of 3-pointers by Gerald Robinson and two free-throws by Bruce Price. Akron surged ahead by 9 points (56-65) with 6:14 remaining, but the Tigers closed to within 2-points (70-72) with 1:34 remaining and then a tie at 72-72 with 1:28 left on a lay-up by Bruce Price. Akron hit a jumper with 0:04 remaining to take the snuff out the Tigers come-back bid.
Tennessee State will return to the lower forty-eight and play next at Indiana University on Monday, December 3rd.