January 02, 20201st2ndFinal
Eastern Illinois265379
Tennessee State404484
Stats at a GlanceEIUTSUM
FG Percentage.429 (24-56) .431 (25-58)
3P FG Percentage.611 (11-18) .500 (13-26)
FT Percentage.800 (20-25) .955 (21-22)
Offensive Rebounds99
Defensive Rebounds2526
Total Rebounds3435
Turnovers1311
Steals44
Bench Points1719
LeadersEIUTSUM
PointsWALLACE - 32
LITTLEJOHN - 18
ReboundsDIXON - 10
HARRIS - 10
AssistsWALLACE - 3
MATLOCK - 3
FREEMAN - 4
StealsSMITH - 1
JOHNSON - 1
WALLACE - 1
DIXON - 1
LITTLEJOHN - 2
BlocksDIXON - 2
HARRIS - 2
Men's Basketball Defeats EIU in OVC Opener
Friday, January 3, 2020
Men's Basketball Defeats EIU in OVC Opener

BOX SCORE | PHOTO GALLERY

Final Score: Tennessee State 84, Eastern Illinois 79
Records: TSU 9-5, 1-0 OVC | EIU 7-6, 0-1 OVC
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
Venue: Gentry Center
Attendance: 732

NASHVILLE --- Head coach Brian “Penny” Collins said Gentry Center could be the hardest place to play in the Ohio Valley Conference. That statement is ringing true as the Tigers garnered its sixth victory at home, 84-79, versus Eastern Illinois to kick off conference play Thursday evening.

An intense five minutes of offensive dominance for TSU allowed the Tigers to make its largest run of the season, 23-1, ending Eastern Illinois’ sole lead early in the night. The 15-point lead helped lift the Tigers to its OVC season-opening victory – the first for Brian “Penny” Collins.

With a 40-26 lead at the break, the Tigers held strong answering the Panthers’ scoring runs with shots beyond the arc or made free-throws to maintain the lead for the remainder of the night.

TSU is now 1-0 in league play and is tied for first in the conference, while holding the best win-loss percentage .643 with an overall record of 9-5.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • TSU Leaders
    • Points: Michael Littlejohn - 18
    • Rebounds: Wesley Harris - 10
    • Assists: Mark Freeman - 4
    • Steals: Michael Littlejohn - 2
    • Blocks: Wesley Harris – 2
  • Wesley Harris pulled down double-digit rebounds for the second consecutive game.
  • Mark Freeman recorded a season-high nine rebounds.
  • The Tigers posted a season-low 11 turnovers, minimizing EIU’s points off of turnovers to seven.
  • Freeman marked his eighth night leading the team in assists.
  • TSU had its best shooting night from the free throw line, closing out the night 21-of-22 from the charity stripe. Shakem Johnson led the way shooting 8-for-8, improving his previous free-throw percentage from .467 to .579.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • EIU took first possession and hit a wide-open three to start the night.
  • Mark Freeman drove through traffic, took a step into the paint and pulled up for a smooth jumper.
  • Mack Smith, EIU’s leading scorer sank a three to increase its lead 10-4.
  • The first media timeout gave TSU a break as EIU faltered and turned the ball over as the clock ticked below 16 minutes.
  • Tied at 13, Emmanuel Egbuta forced an offensive foul directly followed by a Littlejohn three.
  • TSU went on a 23-1 run to lead the Panthers 29-14 with 10 minutes left in the first period.
  • Junior Ravel Moody pulled down an offensive rebound and placed it back for a second chance shot to continue the Big Blue rally.
  • A scoreless 2:30 for EIU rested the team enough that they were able to come back for a 6-0 run.
  • Carlos Marshall, Jr. broke the streak with a three-ball from the wing.
  • An exhilarating Jon Brown dunk on the fast break moved the Tigers into the break, up 40-26 at the half.
  • Marshall made a huge stop to start the half, forcing a foul. Marshall made both shots, and on the opposite end, Egbuta continued the momentum with a blocked shot.
  • Jy’lan Washington, in his first game back, executed a flawless three-point play after getting fouled under the basket.
  • Even-killed offense had the teams even in scoring throughout the first half of the second period.
  • Another 4:30 scoring drought for Eastern Illinois helped the Tigers maintain its small lead over the Panthers.
  • Big Blue knocked down four-straight three pointers, marking a .500 three-point percentage thanks to Littlejohn, Harris and Marshall. The Tigers led 73-62.
  • Freeman and Harris took turns at the charity stripe, closing out TSU's scoring with six made free throws. 

GAME NOTES

  • Brian “Penny” Collins is 2-0 versus Eastern Illinois.
  • Tennessee State improves to 31-24 in the all-time series verus EIU.
  • TSU holds a 6-0 record in the Gentry Center this season.
  • Big Blue is 1-0 in conference play.
  • Tennessee State is now 13-8 when taking on the Panthers in Nashville.
  • This marks the eighth time this season TSU has outscored its first half efforts.

#BigBlueRising