Cooper Grabs First Career Win
with Victory over Kennesaw State, 73-67
Chicago, Ill. - With two minutes in the game, the Tennessee State University Tigers scored six unanswered points to pull away from Kennesaw State en route to a 73-67 win in the Chicago Invitational Challenge (CIC) Friday afternoon (11/27).
The Tigers (1-4) pick-up their first win of the season, giving first year head coach John Cooper his first career victory.
"It's a good win. I like the way we competed towards the end of the game," said Cooper. "We were able to play good defense and answer shots down the stretch. The players really showed a lot of heart and stayed competitive in the final minutes."
Josh Sain scored a game high, 23 points (9-of-15), connecting 2-of-3 from three-point range to go along with six boards. Darius Cox went 4-of-9 from the floor, scoring 13 points, and was perfect from the free-throw line (5-of-5), hitting four down the stretch to secure the win.
Tashan Fredrick pulled in a team high, eight rebounds, to help TSU control the boards, 40-34. The Tigers shot a season high 48 percent from the floor and 40 percent from behind the arc.
In the first half, TSU trailed 19-10 with 11:04 on the clock before jumping on a 10-0 run to take their first lead of the game, 20-19. The Tigers finished the half outscoring the Owls, 14-9, shooting 52 percent from the floor, to lead at the break, 34-28.
The second half experienced three lead changes going into the final five minutes. With the score, 57-57, at the 5:31 mark, Sain scored six points and Fredrick added four to give TSU a cushion before Cox's free throws put the game out of reach.
KSU (2-3) shot 39 percent from the field and finished with five players in double figures. Jon-Michael Nickerson led the Owls with 16 points with Markeith Cummings scoring 15, Kurtis Woods, 14, and Kevin McConnell, 13. LaDaris Green pulled in a game-high 12 rebounds.
The Tigers will conclude the tournament on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. when they play Liberty University.
The Flames (2-5) are coming off a 72-53 win over Mississippi Valley State in their third game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. LU posted four players in double figures with Patrick Konan scoring a team high 16 points. Evan Gordan chipped in 14 points and Kyle Ohman added 12 points to help the Flames shoot 44 percent from the floor. Jesse Sanders hauled in a game high 11 boards with LU dominating the glass over MVSU, 43-33.
Liberty snapped a four game losing streak which include losses to, Northwestern, 69-53 (11/24), and Notre Dame, 91-72, (11/22) in the first two rounds of the CIC. Ohman leads Liberty in scoring with 14.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
This will be the first meeting between the Tigers and the Flames. Next up, TSU will travel back home to Nashville, Tenn. to visit Belmont University on Monday, Nov 30. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. inside the Curb Event Center.