|February 28, 2016||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||BEL||TSUMBB|
|FG Percentage||.489 (23-47)||.536 (30-56)|
|3P FG Percentage||.406 (13-32)||.250 (2-8)|
|FT Percentage||.619 (13-21)||.758 (25-33)|
BRADDS - 2
DESHIELDS - 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.) scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Tennessee State men’s basketball team to an 87-72 victory over Belmont on Sunday afternoon at the Gentry Center in the regular season finale. With the victory, TSU ties its Division I record for wins in a season with 20 and clinches a first round bye in the upcoming Ohio Valley Conference Tournament as the fourth seed.
TSU (20-9, 11-5 OVC) picked up its third 20-win season at the Division I level, matching the total put up by the Tigers in 1978-79 and 2011-12. On the day, TSU held a 39-38 halftime edge and pulled away by outscoring Belmont (20-10, 12-4 OVC) by a 48-34 margin in the second half. It was TSU’s first win over Belmont since Feb. 14, 2013.
The victory also improves TSU to 11-2 at home, tying the school record for wins in a season at the Gentry Center, which was built prior to the 1980-81 season.
The game served as Senior Day, where TSU honored DeShields, Christian Griggs-Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.), Demontez Loman (South Port, N.C.), Xavier Richards (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) and Marcus Roper (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.) prior to the game.
“A couple of (our seniors) really stepped up and had good games for us,” second-year TSU Head Coach Dana Ford said. “You need that on Senior Day. I’m just happy for our players. Those kids came to this school… I was a first-time head coach. We lost 26 games last year, and they got a 20-win season the next year. I’m really happy for those seniors.”
DeShields was joined in double figures by Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) with 17, while Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 13 points and Loman tallied 10 points and eight rebounds.
After TSU scored the first four points on Sunday, Belmont quickly bounced back with 13 points in a row for an early lead.
TSU forced four turnovers as part of a 15-6 run that put the Tigers down just one at 22-21 with eight minutes left in the opening half.
The Tigers tied the game at 27-27 on an offensive rebound and layup by DeShields with six minutes left. After forcing a turnover, Loman’s jumper gave the home team a 29-27 edge. TSU held on to a one-point advantage at 39-38 at the half after forcing 16 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
Loman finished back-to-back layups for a 52-45 lead with 13:29 showing on the second-half clock to cap an 8-0 run.
Martin’s transition layup gave the Tigers their first double-digit lead at 71-60 with just under five minutes left, and TSU never looked back. Belmont would close the gap to nine points at 78-69 with 2:17 remaining, but the Tigers went on a 9-1 run to put the game out of reach.
TSU outrebounded Belmont, 33-27 and shot 53.6 percent from the field. For the Bruins, Austin Luke led the offense with 18 points and six assists. The Tigers were able to force 26 turnovers on the day.
TSU earns a first-round bye in the OVC Tournament, which will be held at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. The fourth-seeded Tigers will square off with Austin Peay or Tennessee Tech on Thursday, March 3.
GAME NOTES: Prior to the game, TSU honored Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.), Christian Griggs-Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.), Demontez Loman (South Port, N.C.), Xavier Richards (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) and Marcus Roper (Ft. Walton Beach, Fla.), who all started on Sunday… TSU will be playing in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament for the 26th time since joining the league prior to the 1987-88 season… Belmont won the first meeting between the two sides this season by a 103-95 final score on Jan. 24… TSU’s record versus Belmont improves to 11-15.
Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford
“For us, it’s only happened three times since we’ve been Division I, so that’s really good for us. It’s a good start for us, I should say. Hopefully, as we continue to build the program, hopefully it doesn’t become that big of a deal, but today it’s a big deal. And not only that, to finish the regular season with single digit losses is big too because that means you won a lot of games.”
- On winning 20 games
Tennessee State Guard Keron DeShields
“We’ve been preaching it since we got to about 18 wins that we could tie the record. It’s only been done two other times. Coach Ford believed in this program, the players, the seniors, the juniors, the sophomores, the freshmen. They all believed. We’re not done yet.”
- On winning 20 games