NASHVILLE --- Freshman Reiley Ervin connected on a running jumper just off the lane with 4.2 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Tennessee State to an 87-85 victory over Samford in an Ohio Valley Conference shootout Thursday night.
The game featured blistering shooting by both teams. TSU finished the game shooting 69.7 percent (36-52) from the field while the Bulldogs shot 65.9 (29-44). Both teams also fared well from 3-point range where TSU shot 61 percent (61) and Samford, the nation's fourth-leading 3-point shooting team shot 60 percent (12-20).
The Tigers got a career-high from forward Kareem Grant who came off the bench to score 26 points on 11-of-12 shooting. Grant's only miss was from 3-point range where he was 4-of-5.
Wayne Arnold added 18 points, Eric King 13, and Bruce Price 11 for the Tigers who rebounded from Saturday's disappointing loss to Tennessee-Martin. With the win, TSU improves to 13-16 and 8-7 in the OVC.
Samford featured a balanced attack with Randall Gulina and J. Robert Merritt leading the way with 17 points each. Jerry Smith scored 12 and Jon Mills 11 for the Bulldogs who placed four starters in double figures.
The game featured an extraordinary 25 league changes. TSU had trailed by as many as seven points (74-67) with under five minutes remaining. The Tigers regained the lead on a Bruce Price layup with 59 seconds left in regulation. However, Gulina hit a layup with 35 seconds left. The Tigers missed a chance to end the game in regulation on a last-second shot.
In the overtime, TSU led by as many as five points before Samford tied the game for the ninth time on a pair of Gulina free throws with 20 seconds left.