Tigers Drop Triple OT Thriller to Eastern Illinois
Friday, December 4, 2009

Crutcher Hits Career-High in First 3OT in TSU History

Nashville, Tenn. - A valiant effort fell short Thursday night (12/3) at the Gentry Center when the Tennessee State University Tigers dropped a triple overtime, 83-81, loss to Eastern Illinois.

It was the first triple overtime game in the history of the program and the Tigers first league loss of the season. With the loss, the Tigers dropped their third straight and falls 0-2 in the Gentry Center this season.

TSU (1-7, 0-1 OVC) shot 38 percent from the floor and 42 percent from three-point range. EIU (4-2, 1-0 OVC) picked up the league victory winning two of their last three while shooting 48 percent from the floor.

Jeremiah Crutcher scored a career-high 21 points to lead TSU, hitting 5-of-14 overall and connecting all seven free throws. Crutcher also added four assists and five rebounds while scoring 14 points in extra minutes.

Robert Covington shot 6-of-13 for 17 points and Wil Peters added 11 points. Darius Cox scored 11 points, 2-of-2 from behind the arc, while hauling in a team-high nine rebounds.

The match-up experienced 12 ties and 14 lead changes with EIU winning the team rebounding effort, 44-37. TSU's bench scored 22 points with EIU's netting 11. The Panthers held their largest lead in the first half, 28-22, but Covington's bucket in the final seconds trimmed the margin, 28-24, at the break.

In the second half, both teams exchanged the lead with 1:20 remaining in regulation. Trailing 51-49 with 12 seconds left, Lonnie Funderburke hit a lay-up to send the game to its first overtime. Funderburke scored eight points going 3-of-7 from the floor.

In double overtime with 1:23 remaining, TSU led 69-60, but the Panthers used a 15-6 run to even the game, 75-75, to send the game to its third overtime.

For the third overtime, the Panthers scored six points, holding the Tigers to four with under three minutes remaining to secure the win.

EIU's Edin Suljic posted a double-double, scoring a game-high 25 points (10-of-13) while pulling down 10 boards. Tyler Laser scored 15 points and Ousmane Cisse registered a double-double, with 12 points (4-of-5), hitting all four of his free throws and hauling in 10 rebounds. T.J. Marion went 6-of-11 from the floor for 12 points.

Next, the Tigers will face Southeast Missouri State in conference play on Saturday, December 5. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.