NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team went up against Eastern Illinois University in Ohio Valley Conference action on Wednesday night and came away with a 64-57 loss.
The Tigers (3-14, 0-2 OVC) fell to the Panthers (9-6, 3-0 OVC) after leading for 75 percent of the game.
Darreon Reddick led a quartet of double-digit scorers for the Tigers. His 13 points were just ahead of Marcus Roper’s 12. Jay Harris added 11 points and seven rebounds while Zachary Lee dropped in 10 points.
Reigning OVC Player of the Week, Chris Olivier, scored 14 points for the Panthers.
Christian Mekowulu opened the game for TSU with a right handed hook shot down the baseline for the game’s first basket. He fell in to foul trouble, though, committing a pair within the first five minutes of action.
The half was defined by strict defense and trading shots. For the first 20 minutes there were six lead changes and four ties. The Tigers held a 26-21 lead with 3:47 to play as Lee faded nicely off a screen and nailed a mid-range jumper. Both teams hit a shot, apiece, giving TSU a 28-23 lead at the break.
The Tiger defense held the Panthers to 1-for-11 (9.1 percent) from behind the arc during the first half. Overall, TSU outshot EIU from the floor 46.2 percent to 35.7 percent.
Neither team scored for the final 2:36 of the first half.
TSU shot out of the locker room and expanded their lead to as much as 12 (41-29). The defense kept up its end of the bargain, as well, holding EIU to 3-of-11 from the floor for the first eight minutes of the final 20.
EIU cut the lead to three with 7:45 to play as they held TSU without a point from the 10:26 mark to the 7:18 mark. The two teams traded treys before Chris Olivier split a pair of freebies to put the gap at two (47-45 TSU) with 5:50 left.
Both teams proceeded to trade the lead until EIU grabbed a five-point lead with 2:08 to go. They would maintain the hold on the scoreboard for the remainder of the contest.
The Tigers held strong for 30 minutes but were unable to close out the game. This is the second year in a row that the Panthers have won against the Tigers in comeback style.
The Tigers will face their first conference road test this Saturday when they travel to SIU-Edwardsville. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and is the second part of a double-header. The Lady Tigers will also take on SIUE this Saturday at 4:00 p.m.