|January 24, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||TSUMBB||BEL|
|FG Percentage||.500 (32-64)||.581 (36-62)|
|3P FG Percentage||.214 (3-14)||.375 (9-24)|
|FT Percentage||.609 (28-46)||.759 (22-29)|
REDDICK - 2
BARNETTE - 1
MERCER - 1
WINDLER - 1
MERCER - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The battle of the last two undefeated teams in Ohio Valley Conference play went to Belmont as the Tennessee State men’s basketball team was handed a 103-95 road defeat on Sunday night at the Curb Event Center. Posting career highs for TSU were Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.) with 33 points and Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) with 32.
“The guys didn’t quit, which is good,” second-year TSU Head Coach Dana Ford said. “You have to give Belmont a lot of credit. What they’ve done over a 10-year span is unbelievable. They’re the gold standard, and we’re trying to get there. Hopefully we learned that if we tighten up a few things, in particular our toughness on the defensive end and our ability to make free throws, that we can give ourselves a chance to beat somebody as good as Belmont.”
In addition to DeShields’ and McCall’s high-scoring efforts, Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) picked up his eighth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers (14-5, 5-1 OVC) trailed by as many as 24 points with just over five minutes left in the first half. TSU cut the Belmont (15-6, 7-0 OVC) lead down to nine in the final minute of the game, eventually falling by eight points. The loss snaps TSU’s five-game winning streak.
For Belmont, Evan Bradds finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds, while Austin Luke had 20 points and 11 assists.
Belmont sprinted out of the gate with a 7-0 lead in the first three minutes. Later on, a 14-2 run by the Bruins put the home side up 30-11 before Martin’s old-fashion three-point play cut the TSU deficit to 30-14 midway through the first half.
Belmont would hold a double-digit advantage throughout the rest of the first half. The Tigers closed the half on a 6-2 stretch with four of the points coming from DeShields to head into the locker room trailing 55-39.
DeShields led the Tigers with 17 first-half points.
The Tigers utilized a 9-4 run capped by a layup from Christian Griggs-Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.) to open the second half to cut the Belmont lead down to 59-48. The Bruins quickly responded to take a 20-point advantage.
Later on, a steal and layup from Marcus Roper (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) trimmed the deficit down to 92-80 with 4:40 left, and later in the half, McCall made two free throws with 59.6 seconds left to cut it to 101-92. Belmont was able to hold on down the stretch.
Belmont finished 36-for-62 (58.1 percent) from the field, and TSU shot 32-for-64 (50.0 percent) on the other end. TSU forced Belmont into 13 turnovers and turned the ball over just eight times in the loss.
Next up, TSU travels to Cookeville, Tenn. to take on Tennessee Tech on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 8 p.m. The game will air live on the American Sports Network.
GAME NOTES: TSU falls to 10-15 in the all-time series versus Belmont… The loss snaps TSU’s five-game winning streak… Belmont has won six in a row in the series versus TSU… TSU is ranked No. 24 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, while Belmont is ranked No. 18 in the poll… Belmont is the defending OVC Champion and preseason favorite… The last time two TSU players scored 20-plus points was Dec. 14, 2015 at Stetson when Keron DeShields put up 27 points and Wayne Martin added 23… Wayne Martin recorded his eighth double-double of the season. The 198 points combined are the most ever scored in Curb Event Center history (previous 195, Belmont 99, Murray State 96 2/6/14)... The 57 total fouls are the most in Curb Event Center history... The 75 free throw attempts are the most in Curb Event Center history... Keron Deshields (33) and Tahjere McCall (32) - most points ever scored by Belmont opponent at Curb Event Center (previous 30, Kevin Tiggs ETSU, 1/17/08)... The 46 TSU free throws attempted are the most by Belmont opponent in Curb Event Center (previous 39, Jacksonville, 2/5/05)... Tahjere McCall's 16 free throw attempts are tied for the most by Belmont opponent in Curb Event Center (DeAndre Kane, Marshall, 12/29/11).
Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford
“I’ve watched every game of Belmont all year long, and they’ve done that to almost everybody that they’ve played. I just sat back and thought ‘Coach Ford’s game plan’s not working today.’ I think our guys really hung in there and continued to fight and the ball started bouncing our way a little bit. Again, you have to give them a lot of credit.”
- On Belmont’s hot shooting to open the game
“We’re a little disappointed in the way we defended the ball, to be honest. We wanted to take away the three, which I thought we did a solid job of, from a percentage standpoint. We wanted to keep them under 20 three-point attempts. We can’t control if they’re making them, but if they’re getting them off, that means you’re not guarding them hard enough.”
- On defending the three
Tennessee State Guard Tahjere McCall
“It’s good that we had that many points, but they got 100 points so it’s kind of irrelevant what we did on the offensive end.”
- On McCall and DeShields posting 30-plus point efforts
“Belmont is a great team. They came out and did what they do. We tried our hardest. We played hard and we’re never going to quit. That’s just not us. Now we have to focus on Tennessee Tech. When we do play Belmont again, I’m sure we’re going to have a great game plan, and we’re going to come out and play them and we’re going to battle, but we need to focus on Tennessee Tech right now.”
- On facing Belmont