December 17, 20151st2ndFinal
Tennessee State335689
Stats at a GlanceLIPTSUMBB
FG Percentage.542 (26-48) .483 (28-58)
3P FG Percentage.556 (10-18) .316 (6-19)
FT Percentage.686 (24-35) .675 (27-40)
Offensive Rebounds816
Defensive Rebounds2220
Total Rebounds3036
Bench Points1823
PointsHampton - 25
ReboundsPepper - 13
AssistsMoran - 8
StealsMiller - 4
BlocksMiller - 1
Smith - 1
TSU Overcomes 14-Point Deficit to Defeat Lipscomb, 89-86
Thursday, December 17, 2015
TSU Overcomes 14-Point Deficit to Defeat Lipscomb, 89-86



NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a career-high 31 points, including 25 in the second half, to lift the Tennessee State men’s basketball team to an 89-86 victory over crosstown foe Lipscomb on Thursday night at the Gentry Center. The Tigers overcame a 14-point first-half deficit to earn their sixth-consecutive win.

TSU (8-2) was down by 10 at halftime and trailed for most of the second half until McCall’s three with 1:33 left put the Tigers up for good at 82-80. The home side would hold on down the stretch and knocked down five free throws in the final 1:17 in the victory over the Bisons (4-10).

Offensively, Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.) and Marcus Roper (Walton Beach, Fla.) scored 16 points apiece, and Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added nine points and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Tigers. On the other end, J.C. Hampton led four Bisons in double figures with 25 points.

The Tigers found themselves in an early 14-4 hole after four minutes, but fought back with a 10-0 run with seven of the points coming from Darreon Reddick (Belleville, Ill.).

Lipscomb went on to take its largest lead of the game of 14 points when Hampton capped an 8-0 run with a three-pointer with 4:16 to go in the half for a 35-21 Lipscomb lead.

TSU was able to close the gap to 10 points before halftime with the Bisons clinging to a 43-33 lead through 20 minutes.

Out of the intermission, McCall took over, scoring 16 points in a row for TSU at one point. The Tigers battled back and tied the game on back-to-back explosive plays. Xavier Richards (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands) collected a defensive rebound and drove the length of the court for a coast-to-coast layup as part of a three-point play to cut the TSU’s deficit to two at 62-60. After a stop on the other end, DeShields fed Demontez Loman (South Port, N.C.) for a thunderous breakaway dunk to knot the game at 62-62 with 9:26 left.

McCall’s jumper with 8:53 on the clock put the score at 64-63, giving the Tigers their first lead since the opening minutes. Over the next four minutes, the Bisons regained a six-point edge at 75-69.

The Tigers were able to claw back to take the lead on McCall’s three to put TSU up for good.

TSU shot 48.3 percent from the field and finished with a 36-30 rebounding edge.

Next up, the Tigers travel to Memphis, Tenn. to take on Alcorn State on Saturday, Dec. 19, at Southwest Tennessee Community College as part of the HBCU Heritage Hardwood Classic.

GAME NOTES: Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) set a new career high with 31 points… His previous career-best was 23 points the Tigers’ season opening win at Loyola on Nov. 13… Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) has recorded double-digit rebounds in four-consecutive games and eight times overall this season… Marcus Roper (Walton Beach, Fla.) picked up his second 10-plus point performance of the season… TSU’s record versus Lipscomb improves to 2-3… TSU has gone 4-1 at home this season.

Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford

“These kids have a lot of fight in them. They’ve got a lot of grit. It’s not just so much about the team. Tennessee State, for years, we’re not winning these type of games, in double overtime, in town versus Lipscomb and things like that. These kids are determined to change the program, that’s what I’m finding out about them.”

  • On what he learned about his team

“He’s the most energetic guy we have. That’s just his personality. Off the court, he’s really goofy. When he’s doing that, he’s playing his best. In the first half, he was a little frustrated for whatever reason, and you have to give Lipscomb a lot of credit. Those guys are hard to guard.”

  • On the play of Tahjere McCall

“Tahjere McCall is the best defensive player I’ve ever been around. He can sit down in a stance, he’s got great lateral quickness and he’s got unbelievable basketball instinct. I tell people all the time, it’s almost like cheating having someone who can defend like he does.”

  • More about Tahjere McCall


Tennessee State Guard Keron DeShields

“We know that our legs are tired, but we’re strong enough mentally to fight through it. We knew we just had back-to-back-to-back games, but our group is mature enough to handle it and really get the proper rest. It started off sluggish because our group plays a lot of minutes. We just know we need to rest more. We know the next game we will not come out like that.”

  • On overcoming a slow start


Tennessee State Guard Tahjere McCall

“I just want to do it for Coach Ford. Last year was rough on him. Winning games right now, it just feels like we are finally getting some results out of what we’ve been preaching and what we’ve been practicing. Now we’re seeing results and now we know we just need to keep pushing because we’re going to get results.”

  • On how important winning is

“I really have to tip my hat to Lipscomb. They are really a great team. That Princeton offense is not a joke. It was really tiring guarding that Princeton offense. They came out and punched us in the mouth is what they did and being the team that we are, we just looked at each other said, ‘we’re going to make it. We’re going to get through it.’”

  • On Lipscomb’s fast start