Tigers Effective Shooting Not Enough to Pull Off Win
Huntsville, Ala. - Tigers' lead faded away in the final seconds and Jerrell Houston's opportunity to send the game into overtime failed in a 69-67 loss to Alabama A&M (2-4). The Tigers (3-5,1-1) shot a season-high 48 percent from the floor dropping their third road game of the season inside T.M. Elmore Gymnasium.
Houston led all scorers with 25 points shooting 11-of-15 from the floor and Emanuel Gaiter added 10 points with five rebounds. Darius Cox finished with eight points and eight rebounds. Stephen Evans was one point and one rebound shy of a double-double with nine of each.
The Tigers controlled the first half shooting 44 percent from the field to the Bulldogs' 29. Trailing in the early minutes, at the 18:13 mark, the Tigers jumped on a 16-4 run while forcing six Bulldog turnovers. With 6:10 left, the Tigers manufactured their largest lead, 20-12. The bench contributed eight points behind Gaiter's five in the first half and Houston led all scorers with eight. TSU led 30-24 at the break.
TSU kept the lead for majority of the second half shooting 52 percent from the floor. However, Corneilus Hester knocked down back-to-back three pointers to give the Bulldogs their first lead since the opening minutes, 50-51, with 5:55 remaining. Hester led the Bulldogs with 21 points shooting 8-of-23 from the field.
There were three lead changes going into the final minute with the Tigers taking the advantage, 66-62, behind Houston's free throws with :25 seconds left. A Trant Simpson lay-up brought the Bulldogs within two, before Cox hit a crucial free throw to move the Tigers back up by three with :10 seconds left.
On the ensuing Bulldog inbound, Simpson sped down court hitting a three-point bucket at the top of the key to tie the ball game, 67-67, with :06 seconds left. Within the next three seconds, the Bulldogs stole the ball and drew a foul putting them on the line with :03 seconds on the clock. Canty Casey's free throws put AAMU up and Houston's last second baseline jumper failed to seal the Bulldog win, 69-67.
The Tigers will remain on the road heading to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to face the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama. The game is scheduled for Wednesday, December 14th, with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off. After that, TSU will close out the 2008 calendar year with games at Kentucky (12/22), Marshall (12/28) and Georgia Tech (12/30).