January 09, 20161st2ndFinal
Tennessee State333063
Stats at a GlanceSIUETSUMBB
FG Percentage.362 (17-47) .434 (23-53)
3P FG Percentage.409 (9-22) .267 (4-15)
FT Percentage.630 (17-27) .619 (13-21)
Offensive Rebounds810
Defensive Rebounds2527
Total Rebounds3337
Bench Points617
PointsESLIK - 23
ReboundsMAKANJUOLA - 10
AssistsCARR - 4
StealsCARR - 1
BlocksSIMMONS - 2
Tigers Top SIUE, 63-60; Move to 3-0 in OVC
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Tigers Top SIUE, 63-60; Move to 3-0 in OVC



NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team moved to 3-0 in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 63-60 home victory over SIUE on Saturday night at the Gentry Center. Redshirt junior Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a team-best 18 points and added seven rebounds in the victory.

The Tigers (12-4, 3-0 OVC) held a 14-point lead with just over 10 minutes left and survived a 12-0 run by SIUE (3-13, 0-4 OVC) late in the game. Redshirt senior Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.), who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists on the night, knocked down two free throws with 5.8 seconds left to secure TSU’s three-point victory.

“First, I want to give SIUE a lot of credit for hanging in there,” Second-year TSU Head Coach Dana Ford said. “They could have folded with about eight minutes to go when it was a 13-point game and we went on a little run. I’ll tell you what, Coach (Jon) Harris is doing a great job with his team and with his program, and they hung in there. We had to make some plays down the stretch to win. Some free throws and a great play from McCall on the and-1, and we got some stops and tough rebounds. The ball bounced our way tonight.”

Despite the Cougars making seven of their first 10 field goal attempts, the Tigers clung to a 20-17 lead at the midway point of the first half. Darreon Reddick (Belleville, Ill.) drilled a pair of three-pointers in the opening 10 minutes to lead the offense in the early going.

The Cougars built up a five-point lead with 5:19 to play before halftime before the Tigers’ defense limited SIUE to just one point the remainder of the half. TSU closed the half on an 8-1 run to take a 33-31 halftime edge. TSU led for 5:01 of the first half, which featured 11 lead changes.

Early in the second half, TSU’s lead grew to six points at 43-37 with 15:04 left on back-to-back layups from McCall.

In a wild sequence, Marcus Roper (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) knocked down three-pointers on consecutive possessions, then delivered a one-handed dunk that brought the TSU crowd to its feet as the Tigers claimed a 53-39 advantage with 10:28 to go.

SIUE went on a 12-0 run to cut the TSU lead down to 55-54, until McCall ended the stretch with a free throw for a 56-54 lead with 2:10 left. Just over a minute later, SIUE’s Carlos Anderson hit two free throws with 55.3 seconds left to level the scoring at 56-56.  

With 48.1 seconds left on the clock, McCall finished an acrobatic layup and was fouled. After making the free throw, TSU had a 59-56 advantage. After Keenan Simmons made one free throw for the Cougars to cut the TSU lead down to 59-57, Xavier Richards (St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands) finished a tip-in with 13.0 seconds for a 61-57 lead.

Burak Eslik answered with a three for SIUE with 6.4 seconds remaining before DeShields finished off the Cougars at the free throw line.

Eslik led all scorers with 23 points on the night. Anderson added 15 points, while Yemi Makanjuola pulled down 10 boards for the Cougars. TSU won the battle on the glass by a 37-33 margin and held SIUE to 36.2 percent (17-for-47) from the field.

Next on the schedule for TSU is another home OVC test versus Austin Peay on Jan. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

GAME NOTES: TSU moves to 6-1 in the all-time series versus SIUE… TSU is now 5-1 at home on the season… TSU led at the half for the fourth game in a row.

Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford
“What he’s been doing all year is he’s been bailing us out. He probably needs to play a little more, but the thing about it is, he’s just fulfilling his role to the max. It’s just a pleasure to be a part of because he’s such a great kid. There’s probably five games on our schedule that we don’t even win without Marcus Roper.”

          -  On the play of Marcus Roper

“Learning to play for 40 minutes is where we need to be. Even if you’re down, you still play the game a certain way for 40 minutes and we can’t grasp that yet. Fortunately for us, we’re still finding ways to win. Eventually, you’re going to have to put together 40 minutes to beat the teams that are left on your schedule.”

         -  On trying to play a complete game

Tennessee State Guard Tahjere McCall
“It was a rough game, but every game is going to be like that in conference play. We came out and they punched us in the mouth, but like we always do we were ready to fight back.”
        - On battling SIUE

“The next step in our development is, when we go up, we need to continue to increase the lead, instead of coming back down and making it a tough game, but they played their heart out. We just really played hard.”
        - On continuing team’s growth

Tennessee State Guard Keron DeShields
“Once we get the pace of the game down once we’re up, we need to work on sustaining a lead. Once we figure that out, we’ll be a team to reckon with. Coach Ford says we need to keep punching them in the mouth. They’re wobbling, are you going to knock them out? We haven’t been able to knock anybody out yet.”

        - On playing with the lead