February 18, 20171st2ndFinal
Eastern Kentucky283866
Tennessee State353368
Stats at a GlanceEKUTSUMBB
FG Percentage.444 (20-45) .451 (23-51)
3P FG Percentage.545 (12-22) .333 (4-12)
FT Percentage.778 (14-18) .818 (18-22)
Offensive Rebounds413
Defensive Rebounds1823
Total Rebounds2236
Turnovers1619
Steals610
Bench Points416
LeadersEKUTSUMBB
PointsMAYO - 24
McCALL - 20
ReboundsMAYO - 7
REED - 13
AssistsMAYO - 4
McCALL - 7
StealsAVARE - 3
McCALL - 4
BlocksMAYO - 1
CHARLES - 1
CHITTY - 1
MEKOWULU - 1
Tigers Defeat EKU on Senior Night
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Tigers Defeat EKU on Senior Night
Photo Courtesy of Katherine Seghers

BOX SCORE

PHOTO GALLERY - BY KATHERINE SEGHERS

NASHVILLE --- On a night when the Tennessee State men’s basketball team honored its seniors, Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.), Jordan Reed (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) helped lift the Tigers to a 68-66 win over Eastern Kentucky at the Gentry Center on Saturday night in the final home game of the season.

McCall broke the Tennessee State (17-11, 8-7 OVC) single-season steals record on the night, passing the 72 steals he had a year ago.

The senior from Philadelphia came up huge down the stretch with a layup and a made free throw with 1:23 left to break a 57-57 tie. On TSU’s next possession, he made another tough layup to put the Tigers up for good at 62-57 with 48.4 seconds left.

The Tigers made six free throws in the final 36 seconds to hold off the Colonels (10-19, 3-11 OVC).

McCall finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Reed added eight points and 13 rebounds for Tigers.

Early on, the visitors grabbed a quick 8-5 advantage to open the game, but the lead was short lived. TSU answered with a 23-5 run for a 28-13 lead with just under six minutes left in the first half.

The Tigers led by 13 points with 1:30 left in the half when the Colonels closed the period with six-consecutive points to cut TSU’s halftime edge down to 35-28.

In the second half, Eastern Kentucky battled back, cutting the TSU lead down to 51-49 with 8:35 left. The Colonels continued to fight, tying the score at 57-57 on a tip in with 2:30 left.

Down the stretch, TSU forced three big turnovers in the final three minutes to help pull out the victory. Armani Chaney (Chicago, Ill.) put the game away with two made free throws with 3.2 seconds on the clock.

EKU’s Nick Mayo led all scorers with 24 points to go with seven rebounds, while Dillon Avare added 15 for the Colonels.

TSU outrebounded EKU by a 36-22 margin and shot 45.1 percent from the field in the game.

The Tigers close the regular season at Belmont on Saturday, Feb. 25.

GAME NOTES: Tennessee State moves to 7-5 at the Gentry Center this season… The Tigers are 28-33 in the all-time series versus Eastern Kentucky…  TSU honored Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.), Jordan Reed (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with a Senior Night ceremony… Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) set TSU’s single-season steals record with 72. He broke his own record on the night and now has 75 for his career.

TSU Head Coach Dana Ford

“I am happy with the win. It was not very pretty. Nick Mayo is a hard guard, and he really kept them in the game. Dan (McHale), you have to give him some credit. Those guys are out of the picture, and he still has them playing hard and still trying to execute. The future is bright for them. They are going to add some piece, and if they keep Mayo healthy, they are going to be really good for a long time. I am proud of our seniors. I thought they had really good senior leadership on senior day. We shot the ball well from the free throw line, and that really helped us because we went ice cold from the floor. Other than that, I am just looking forward to getting better.”
- Opening Statement

“I thought the ‘and-1’ was huge. They came back and tied the game somehow. He came down and got the ‘and-1’ went to the line and made his free throw. That kind of gave us some wiggle room. The second one, he came down and I did not think that was a good shot. I mean, he came down and pass faked in mid-air and then shot it. I think we are just fortunate that it had enough back spin on it that it rolled around the back of the rim and went in. You have to give him credit. I tell our guys the last four minutes of a game, people have to make plays.”
- On the Play of Tahjere McCall Down the Stretch

“He is playing better, and we are playing better. We needed that from him. We expected him to be a force for us this year and hopefully for the rest of his career here. He makes us a better team. He takes some pressure off Wayne (Martin). He is so big out there, he’s athletic, he can move, and we need him to continue to make strides. We are happy with how he has been playing the last couple of games.”
- On the Play of Christian Mekowulu