|November 28, 2015||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||TSUMBB||KSU|
|FG Percentage||.420 (21-50)||.358 (19-53)|
|3P FG Percentage||.250 (3-12)||.294 (5-17)|
|FT Percentage||.688 (11-16)||.429 (6-14)|
MCCALL - 2
MCCALL - 1
PHOTO GALLERY - Photos by Mike Beaverson
KENNESAW, Ga. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team earned a 56-49 road victory over Kennesaw State at the KSU Convocation Center on Saturday night behind a team-high 14 points from Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.). At 4-2, the Tigers are one win shy of matching last year’s win total of five.
For TSU (4-2) it is the program’s best start through six games since the 1994-95 season. The Tigers led Kennesaw State (1-6) by as many as 18 points in the second half and held on as the Owls cut the deficit to five in the final three minutes.
“I was pleased with how we came out in the first half and defended, holding them to 17 points,” second-year TSU Head Coach Dana Ford said. “We pride ourselves on defense, and we were pleased with that. In the second half, they made a run like every team does. We were fortunate enough to make a few plays and have the ball bounce our way to secure a win.”
In addition to McCall’s 14 points, Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.) added 13 points, while Christian Griggs-Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.) collected a career-high 11 rebounds in the victory.
A sluggish start left the Tigers with just one point in the opening 4:43 as the Owls flew out to a 5-1 lead in the early going. The lead was short-lived, however, with TSU responding with a 7-0 run highlighted by a steal and acrobatic layup from DeShields that put the Tigers in front at 8-5.
After the homestanding Owls leveled the scoring at 10-10 on Nigel Pruitt’s jumper, the Tigers went up for good on the following possession on McCall’s layup.
Later in the half with TSU holding a 22-17 lead, the Tigers clamped down on defense and were able to keep Kennesaw State off the scoreboard for the final 5:13 of the half. A 10-0 run to close the first half gave the Tigers a 32-17 halftime lead.
The 17 points allowed in the first half are the fewest this season and second-fewest in the Dana Ford era at TSU.
The Tigers lead ballooned to 18 points in the second half on DeShields’ three with 12:15 left for a 45-27 advantage. The Owls were able to close the TSU lead down to nine on an Aubrey Williams layup to put the score at 48-39 with 6:50 remaining.
With the outcome still up in the air, Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished a layup for a 54-47 lead and Griggs-Williams had a tip-in on the following possession for a 56-47 advantage with 1:10 left to pull away.
TSU held a 35-20 advantage in points in the paint and limited the Owls to 35.8 percent (19-for-53) shooting. On the other end, the Tigers finished 42.0 percent (21-for-50) on field goals.
The Tigers will look to match last year’s win total of five with a home test versus Atlantic Sun opponent Stetson on Dec. 5 at the Gentry Center.
GAME NOTES: Tennessee State improves to 3-0 in the all-time series versus Kennesaw State… Christian Griggs-Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.) is the second TSU player with 10-plus rebounds this season, joining Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.), who has done it four times.
Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford
“We’ve grown a little bit. In the past, I think we’ve lost those type of games. The guys bared down little bit. We didn’t stop them as many times in the second half, but we stopped them enough. We didn’t turn the ball over, we got shots at the rim, but we’ve got to clean up our free throw shooting.”
- On holding off Kennesaw State’s come back
“Rebounding is something else we pride ourselves on. We feel like if we can guard you hard and give you one shot, that we’ll give ourselves a chance until we can get our offense figured out. Until then, it’s definitely a stat that we’re happy about.
- On outrebounding Kennesaw State