NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State led nearly the entire way and finished strong in a, 50-40, win over Jacksonville State Saturday night in the Gentry Center.
Defense was the name of the game as neither side was able to generate much offense. TSU held its opponent to six points in the third quarter and that ultimately proved to be the difference.
I’mani Davis paced the Lady Tigers (11-16, 6-9 OVC) with her fourth consecutive double-double (18 points, 13 rebounds) while Jayda Johnson also reached double-digits with 12.
Jacksonville State (10-17, 5-10 OVC) was led in scoring by Tyler Phelion’s 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Fueled by its defense, TSU used a rally to go ahead 9-3 before the first media timeout.
Later in the period an offensive rebound and putback by Davis increased TSU’s advantage to 11-3 before the visitors used a 6-0 spurt to pull within two. A triple from Davis, who had 10 points in the opening frame, made the score, 14-9, in favor of the home team just before quarter ended.
Neither team scored for the first three minutes of the second period. Diamond Beatty drove down the lane for a layup to get the Lady Tigers on the board at the 6:22 mark but that would be TSU’s only field goal of the quarter.
Jacksonville State answered with a triple on the next its next possession to cut TSU’s lead down to three. The Gamecocks would go on to outscore the Lady Tigers in the second frame but despite only posting five points in the frame, TSU held a, 19-18, lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, a steal and breakaway layup by I’mani Davis sparked a rally that gave the Lady Tigers a nine point cushion, 31-22, at the 2:07 mark. With 1.9 seconds of the clock, Brianna Lawrence sank two free-throws to give TSU a, 35-24, advantage heading into the final frame.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Jacksonville State sliced the TSU lead down to five within the first minute of the fourth quarter. After a number of empty possessions by both teams, four unanswered points by the Lady Tigers put them back on top, 39-30.
The Gamecocks scored the next four to once again pull within five but the Lady Tigers responded with a 6-0 run to move ahead, 45-34, with a little more than two minutes remaining.
TSU maintained a comfortable lead the rest of the way. Down the stretch, the Gamecocks committed a number of fouls but the Lady Tigers made their free-throws to secure the win.
Tennessee State shot an improved 81.0 percent (17-of-21) from the free-throw line while holding the advantage in points-in-the-paint, 26-12, and fast break points, 12-0.