NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State came all the way back from an 18-point second half deficit to claim a 105-101 double overtime thriller over visiting Southeast Missouri Thursday night.
The outlook was bleak for TSU which fell behind early in the first half as the Indians drained nine 3-pointers in the opening half to lead 48-37 at halftime. Things didn't get much better for the Tigers in the second half as Southeast opened its largest lead at 59-41 at the 15:44 mark.
Tiger coach Cy Alexander went to his bench to look for a spark. The Tigers finally cut the lead to single digits after a pair of Bruce Price free throws to make the score 69-60 at the 7-minute mark. The Tigers then went on an 8-0 run to make the score 69-69 at the 5:16 mark before Southeast regrouped to pull back to an eight-point lead (76-68) near the three-minute mark.
The Tigers continued to trail and were behind 80-77 after Southeast's Ryan Belcher made one of two free throws with 11 seconds left. Down to their last shot, senior Herley Maclin drilled a 3-pointer with three seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 80-80. TSU had trailed the entire second half until Maclin hit his shot.
TSU trailed by five points early in the first overtime, but came back to lead by three points on a pair of occasions. TSU was ahead 97-94 before the Indians' Dainmon Gonner hit a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left.
In the second overtime, TSU never trailed and took the lead for good on a Roshaun Bowens layup at the 3:10 mark of the second overtime.
Bruce Price scored 30 points to lead the Tigers (7-10, 2-1 OVC). Bowens had 18 points and 12 rebounds, posting his third double-double of the season.
Freshman Reiley Ervin came off the bench to score 16 of his 18 points in the final half. Maclin added 14 for TSU and Kareem Grant scored 12. TSU's bench outscored Southeast's reserves 46-11. The Tigers also had a big night at the free throw line. The Tigers hit 21 of their first 22 attempts and finished 33 of 37 for 89 percent.
Gonner had a career-high 37-points to lead Southeast (6-9, 1-3). Derek Winans scored 12 of his 19 points in the first half. Reggie Golson and Terrick Willoughby each scored 17 points. Six of Southeast's nine losses have been by four points or less.
TSU hosts Eastern Illinois Saturday in a doubleheader. The women's game gets the action started at 5:30 p.m.