|February 04, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||TSUMBB||APSU|
|FG Percentage||.510 (25-49)||.434 (23-53)|
|3P FG Percentage||.318 (7-22)||.263 (5-19)|
|FT Percentage||.813 (13-16)||.714 (15-21)|
MEKOWULU - 1
HAMILTON - 1
REED - 1
CLAYTON - 2
MEKOWULU - 1
HAMILTON - 1
PHOTO GALLERY - BY SAM JORDAN
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. --- In a game of runs, the Tennessee State men’s basketball team used a gritty defensive effort to grind out a 70-66 road win at Austin Peay at the Dunn Center on Saturday in Ohio Valley Conference play.
Darreon Reddick (Belleville, Ill.) scored a season-high 19 points, including two free throws with 4.1 seconds left to give the Tigers (14-10, 5-6 OVC) a three-point edge. Ken’Darrius Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala.) picked up his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-best 11 boards, the last coming with 1.5 seconds left to help seal the victory. Christian Mekowulu (Lagos, Nigeria) added 12 points and nine rebounds for the visitors.
The Tigers led Austin Peay (8-17, 4-7 OVC) by 12 points in the first half before the Governors answered back with an 11-point lead of their own in the second half.
TSU stepped up its defensive intensity to get back into the game. The Tigers held Austin Peay without a field goal in the second half from the 11:53 mark until the 2:19 mark, turning an 11-point deficit into an eight-point lead during the stretch.
Mekowulu scored eight of TSU’s first 11 points as the Tigers jumped out to an 11-5 lead four minutes into the game.
A 9-0 run capped by a Reddick three extended the TSU advantage to 27-15 with just over eight minutes to play in the opening half. After the Govs trimmed the lead down to 27-20, the Tigers answered with a Reddick three and dunk from Mekowulu to put the advantage up to 32-20.
Austin Peay went on to score 11 of the half’s final 13 points as TSU took a 34-31 lead into the locker room. The Tigers shot 54.2 percent in the opening 20 minutes and had a 19-11 rebounding edge at the half.
The Govs leveled the score at 36-36 1:50 into the second half. Austin Peay then seized control of the momentum, leading by as many as 11 points six minutes into the half.
The Tigers refused to go away, battling all the way back to tie the score at 55-55 with 6:32 remaining. On the next possession, Reddick finished a tough layup and was fouled. The junior guard converted the free throw for a 58-55 lead.
TSU held a two point edge until Hamilton drilled a three from straight away with 1:03 left for a 66-61 lead.
Austin Peay made four free throws over the next two possessions to cut the Tigers’ lead down to 66-65 with 5.3 seconds left. Reddick was fouled and made both free throws with 4.1 seconds remaining to stretch the lead back up to three points at 68-65.
TSU elected to foul with 2.3 seconds left, sending APSU’s Josh Robinson to the line. Robinson made the first and missed the second as Hamilton collected the rebound for TSU and iced the game at the free throw line at the other end with two makes.
The Tigers shot 51 percent from the field on the night and held a 36-23 rebounding edge.
For Austin Peay, John Murray scored a game-high 20 points.
Tennessee State will continue its road trip at Tennessee Tech on Thursday night at 6 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Tennessee State improves to 29-46 in the all-time series versus Austin Peay… The Tigers are 9-5 in games away from the Gentry Center this season…. Christian Mekowulu (Lagos, Nigeria) scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and the 13th time in his career… TSU was without starting guard Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.), who missed the game due to injury.
TSU Head Coach Dana Ford
“I’m just proud of the guys. I thought they really fought and scrapped. They came up and made some big plays and they deserve all the credit today. Coming back, on the road, down 11 without Tahjere McCall, who has been one of our better players all year long, it’s just a credit to those guys. To be able to pick up their defensive intensity, even though we weren’t making shot, was really an area of growth for our newcomers.”
- On the team’s performance
“There was a stretch there where we got 10 straight stops, and that’s really the area of growth for us right now. We obviously emphasize defense a lot, but it’s one thing to emphasize it and it’s another thing to execute it. I thought in the second half, we really locked in and got stops. That’s really the reason we were able to get back into the game. It’s impossible to win, no matter if you’re at home or on the road if you can’t guard them.”
- On coming back in the second half
“I thought Darreon was just a warrior tonight. He really exerted his will on the game, both defensively and in the huddle talking. Offensively, stepping up and attacking the basket and making big shots. He just showed a tremendous amount of leadership tonight. Yama (Ken’Darrius Hamilton) came up with a big rebound there at the end when they missed the free throw and tried to get the tip in. Yama going to the line and icing it, those are just things you have to do if you want to do. Obviously that’s our goal and we just have to keep our heads on straight and try to continue to improve.”
- On the clutch plays of Darreon Reddick and Ken’Darrius Hamilton
TSU Guard Darreon Reddick
“Basketball is a game of runs. Everybody who has played basketball knows that. It’s all about sticking together and keep pounding the rock – that’s our quote. We had 10 stops in a row. Coach Ford always says if you keep guarding, no matter what you’re doing on offense, the score will never change. We kept guarding.”
- On the runs by both teams
“We shoot free throws all the time in practice. Coach Ford makes us make 100 individually, so I was ready for it. I wasn’t fazed. I was confident in myself.”
- On making two free throws with 4.1 seconds left