|January 05, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||SEMO||TSUMBB|
|FG Percentage||.423 (22-52)||.500 (22-44)|
|3P FG Percentage||.200 (4-20)||.300 (3-10)|
|FT Percentage||.667 (14-21)||.692 (18-26)|
McCALL - 8
BENTON - 2
REED - 1
PHOTO GALLERY - BY SAM JORDAN
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored a game-high 27 points and had a key steal on the final play of the game to lift the Tennessee State men’s basketball team to a 65-62 home victory over Southeast Missouri on Thursday night at the Gentry Center in Ohio Valley Conference action.
Leading 61-60 with 27.9 seconds left, McCall drained two free throws for a three-point advantage for TSU (10-5, 1-1 OVC). After a free throw from A’Torey Everett (Dallas, Texas), SEMO’s Antonius Cleveland hit a layup to put the score at 64-62 with 13.4 seconds left.
McCall was again fouled, hitting the first free throw with 5.6 seconds remaining for a 65-62 lead. Before the Redhawks could attempt a final shot that could have leveled the score, McCall came up with a steal to seal the victory.
McCall turned in a complete game with 27 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals on the night. Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) also finished in double figures with 10 points.
TSU gained the upper hand in the early going, taking a 12-4 lead to force a SEMO timeout with 14:20 left in the first half. Out of the break, the Redhawks seized the momentum and the lead by a 20-19 margin.
The Tigers would grow their lead back up to six points at 28-22 with just over two minutes play. The home side went to the locker room with a 32-29 lead thanks to a pair of McCall free throws in the waning seconds. TSU held SEMO to 1-for-11 shooting (9.1 percent) from three-point range in the opening 20 minutes.
Tennessee State scored eight of the first 11 points of the half for a 40-32 advantage. Christian Mekowulu (Lagos, Nigeria) chipped in with a layup and a dunk during the stretch.
TSU continued to lead for most of the second half before SEMO’s 7-0 run mid-way through the half gave the visitors a 51-50 advantage. The Tigers regained the lead for good with just over four minutes left on McCall’s jumper.
Tennessee State finished with a 33-30 rebounding edge and limited SEMO to 20 percent (4-for-20) from three-point range.
Cleveland posted a team-high 15 points for the Redhawks.
Next on the schedule, TSU hosts UT Martin on Saturday, Jan. 7, at the Gentry Center at 7:30 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Tennessee State is 26-19 in the all-time series versus Southeast Missouri… TSU is 4-1 at home and 15-4 at the Gentry Center over the last two seasons… Tahjere McCall scored in double figures for the 13th time in his career… McCall has now scored 996 career points at the Division I level.
TSU Head Coach Dana Ford
“A lot of credit to SEMO. I thought they played really hard. That is a tough matchup for us because they play four guards for the entire game. They really create some mismatch problems in terms of dribble penetration. I thought our guards did the best job they could. I think Wayne Martin did a pretty good job himself for the most part. There was a stretch in the second half where he was giving up dribble penetration. Overall, I am happy with the win. We desperately needed one. I was glad to see our seniors were the ones to lead us to it.”
- Opening Statement
“I think it is important. We have had an emotional past week. We have an expectation level here to win. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. The problems we have had in the last couple weeks are that we have been defeated by not upholding our standard. Our standard is defense and rebounding. I think tonight we moved the needle back towards that. It’s definitely not there yet but it is something that we have to take upon ourselves that collectively make up this team and get back to that. I think tonight helped us with that and now we have to do it again in two days.”
- On Getting the Team’s First OVC Win
“We are just really glad to have him. We are so appreciative to Tahjere and his family and the fact that they want to be at Tennessee State University. He is obviously a good player and a good kid. He is very competitive and tonight I thought he was tremendous.”
- On the Play of Tahjere McCall
“I think we didn’t settle for threes. I thought we tried to attack the basket as much as we could. We tried to establish a post-game but Wayne was in foul trouble in the first half. We knew they were limited in terms of size and we were able to attack the basket and get some high percentage shots. Credit to the guys and hopefully this gives them some confidence.”
- On Shooting 50 percent from the Field
Redshirt Senior, Tahjere McCall
“Coach Ford told us every game in conference is going to be a tough game no matter what their record may be out of conference. Everybody is going to play good, because everybody wants to win. They were a really tough team. They played five guards and we were not used to that. We just had to tough it out. This was a good test for our team. We just came back and got a win, now we just need to build on this win.”
- On Win Over Southeast Missouri
“It wasn’t me, it was TSU. My guys helped me on screens and they helped me when they went backdoor. We have really been preaching, ‘it is not a me thing, it’s a we over me.’ It wasn’t me, but the team did a good job slowing him down because he is a great player. He is very long and solid player. We did a good job of focusing and really trying to slow him down.”
- On Slowing Down Atonius Cleveland
Redshirt Senior, Wayne Martin
“It was real important for us. We just came off a two game losing streak. This was a big one for us. We have been working all week trying to figure out what has been wrong with our defense. Our defense wasn’t great tonight, but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
- On Importance of First Conference Win
“We just have to push and push. We have a lot of conference games left. We cannot be tired yet. We are only half. We just have to keep pushing and try and get better.”
- On How Team’s Performance will Help for the Upcoming Games