NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team dropped its final home game of the season to UT Martin 69-52 at the Gentry Center, Thursday night.
The Skyhawks (18-10, 10-5 OVC) used a 9-2 scoring run at the beginning of the second half to create the gap it needed to win. The Tigers (5-25, 2-13 OVC) received a spirited performance from their only senior, Jay Harris, but ultimately suffered a defeat.
Harris scored 18 points (6-for-16) while grabbing three boards in his final performance at the Gentry Center. More than his stat-sheet contribution, the Philadelphia native was diving onto the floor for numerous loose balls. He even chased a few out of bounds, taking out the Gatorade dispenser for one ball.
Alex Anderson had a game-high 20 points for UT Martin.
The first half was an entertaining back-and-forth battle. UTM maintained a small advantage on the scoreboard for the first 10 minutes until Harris made three buckets (two treys and a jumper) in three possessions to give the Tigers a 20-18 lead with 8:23 left until the break.
The two teams proceeded to shuffle the lead with UT Martin owning a 34-32 advantage heading into the locker room. Harris led all scorers with 13 points for the opening 20 minutes of action.
The Tigers shot lights out from three-point range as they knocked down 6-of-10.
The Skyhawks flipped a switch to begin the second half, jumping out to a 9-2 run through the first four minutes. After a half-opening layup by Christian Mekowulu, TSU didn’t score another point until a trey by Darreon Reddick with 14:24 to play. By then a 10-point gap had formed.
TSU poked and prodded the lead but never quite assailed it as the clock ticked down. The Tigers stared at an 11 point deficit with seven minutes to play and had made 1-of their last-6 shots, at the time. The Skyhawks’ defense had relegated the majority of Tiger possessions to contested jump shots thanks to their two sizeable post players Twymond Howard and Arkeem Joseph.
TSU never got closer than eight points from the lead for the remainder of the contest.
TSU will play one final game this season on Saturday at Belmont. Tip-off time is slated for 5:00 p.m. at the Curb Event Center. The game will also be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.