Tigers Finish Regular Season on Six-Game Win Streak, Pounds Eastern Illinois, 83-63
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Tigers claim OVC sixth seed with win, heads to Murray for tournament's first round

Nashville, Tenn. – Darius Cox tied a career-high 23 points shooting 9-of-11 from the floor to lead the Tigers over Eastern Illinois, 83-63, Saturday night at the Gentry Center.

Jerrell Houston and Gerald Robinson, Jr.each added 19 points and were perfect from the line. Houston shot 6-of-6 and Robinson hit 8-of-8 from the charity stripe to help the Tigers shoot a season-high 90 percent (18-of-20).

Jeremiah Crutcher had a game-high nine assists to go along with six points and Emanuel Gaiter was perfect from the floor, 4-of-4, for eight points.

The Tigers (12-17, 9-9 OVC) tied a season-high shooting 55 percent from the floor and led 24-8 midway through the first half. In the final seconds before the break, TSU tied their largest lead of the game, 43-23, but EIU hit free-throws before the horn for a 43-25 at halftime score. At the break, TSU shot 17-of-27 for 63 percent.

For the game, TSU splits the regular-season series against EIU with the win, while hitting a season-high, 53 percent from three-point range.

In the second half, EIU jumped out on a 9-0 run before TSU scored their first bucket of the half.

The Panthers (12-17, 8-10 OVC) were led by Romain Martin who scored a game-high 29 points from 10-of-17 shooting, including 8-of-12 from beyond the arc.

With 6:57 remaining, EIU rallied back, consecutive three-point shots by Romain narrowed the lead, 64-55. Going into the final minutes, the Tigers shot 11-of-12 and three-point shots by Cox and Crutcher repelled the Panthers final charge.

Next, the Tigers, having already clinched an OVC playoff berth, will enter next week's OVC Campionship Tournament as the sixth seed. TSU will travel to Murray, Ky. to face third-seed Murray State on Tuesday, May 3rd. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.