|January 11, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||TSU||EIU|
|FG Percentage||.392 (20-51)||.377 (20-53)|
|3P FG Percentage||.381 (8-21)||.304 (7-23)|
|FT Percentage||.913 (21-23)||.720 (18-25)|
SPENCER - 12
REDDICK - 12
GOODWIN - 3
Final Score: Tennessee State 69 - Eastern Illinois 65
Records: TSU (7-9, 2-3 OVC) – EIU (6-10, 2-3 OVC)
Venue: Lantz Arena
Location: Charleston, Ill.
CHARLESTON, Ill. --- Clutch plays down the stretch including a steal and layup by Delano Spencer in the final minute helped the Tennessee State men’s basketball team earn a hard-fought 69-65 road win at Eastern Illinois on Thursday night at Lantz Arena in Ohio Valley Conference action. The game aired before a national audience on the CBS Sports Network.
TSU (7-9, 2-3 OVC) drained four free throws in the final five seconds to seal the victory over the Panthers (6-9, 2-3 OVC).
The Tigers finished with five players scoring in double figures including 12 points apiece from Spencer, Kamar McKnight (all in the second half) and Darreon Reddick, while Ken’Darrius Hamilton added 11 and Christian Mekowulu finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
TSU overcame EIU’s strong defense in the early going that had the Tigers in a 12-1 hole seven minutes into the game. The Tigers took the lead late in the first half before the Panthers scored on their final first-half possession for a 30-28 halftime edge.
TSU forced 22 turnovers – 11 in both halves – and held EIU to 37.7 percent shooting on the night.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- TSU LEADERS
- POINTS – Delano Spencer, Darreon Reddick and Kamar McKnight - 12
- REBOUNDS – Christian Mekowulu - 8
- ASSISTS – Armani Chaney - 4
- Kamar McKnight was held scoreless in the first half before scoring in double figures in the second half.
- It was his eighth double-digit scoring game this season.
- Darreon Reddick reached double figures for the sixth time this year and 36th time in his career.
- Christian Mekowulu scored double figures for the 10th time this season and the 23rd time in his TSU career.
- TSU finished 21-of-23 (91.3 percent) from the free throw line.
- The Tigers’ defense limited EIU to 7-of-23 shooting (30.4 percent) from three-point range.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- After a slow start on the offensive end, TSU found itself down 16-5 nine minutes into the game.
- TSU clawed back into the game and tied the game with an 11-3 run capped by a steal and dunk from Ken’Darrius Hamilton. The Tigers took their first lead at 26-24 with 2:06 left before the half on two free throws from Darreon Reddick.
- At the half, TSU trailed EIU bya 30-28 score.
- The second half featured six ties and nine lead changes.
- Armani Chaney’s free throw with 1:23 left tied the scoring at 63-63, and Delano Spencer came up with a steal on the ensuing possession.
- After a missed shot from TSU, Spencer had another big steal that led to a layup with 38.4 seconds left giving the Tigers a 65-63 advantage.
- With 6.7 seconds left EIU’s Ray Crossland hit the second of his two free throws to cut the TSU lead down to 65-64.
- TSU closed the game with two free throws from Spencer with 4.7 seconds left and two from Hamilton with 1.1 seconds remaining.
- Tennessee State improves to 28-23 in the all-time series versus Eastern Illinois.
- The Tigers are now 3-6 in road games this season.
HEAD COACH DANA FORD
“Just happy to win a close game. You can put this one up there with all the other ones that we’ve had this year that’s come down to overtime or one possession. We’re just grateful and thankful to be on the winning end this time.”
- Thoughts on the game
“I thought he was great. He played a great team game – he played under control. He made some big shots. He talked, and when he plays well, he makes us a lot deeper team. We’re getting good production from other guys on the bench, but he’s a guy that we’ve got to be able to consistently count on.”
- On the play of Kamar McKnight
“(It’s) very important. It’s just the next game on our schedule. It’s a conference race. We want to be in it. We understand that we’re literally two possessions from only having one loss in this league right now. We feel like we’ve played a couple of the top-tier teams, and we just want to get better every day. I’m just really proud of the guys and their ability to pick their heads up with so many close games and come out and pay attention to detail and stay together and be great teammates. This is a good win for us.”
- On the importance of the win
- TSU will remain in the state of Illinois for another Ohio Valley Conference road test at SIUE on Saturday, Jan. 13, at 7 p.m.
- The game will air on the OVC Digital Network and on the radio on 102.1 The Ville.