AMES, Iowa --- Tennessee State again pushed an opponent from a major conference to the wire only to come up short, this time a 59-51 decision at Iowa State on Wednesday night.
The Tigers were trailing 54-51 with 1:27 remaining with possession of the basketball when a 5-second call was made prior to the inbounds pass. Iowa State took advantage of the call and the Cyclones Rahshon Clark made a 3-point field goal with 54 seconds remaining to help seal the Tigers' fate.
TSU had a pair of turnovers on its ensuing possessions and Curtis Stinson's field goal with 19 seconds remaining accounted for the team's final margin.
"It was tough call at a critical time of the game," said TSU coach Cy Alexander. "However, I was proud of the effort and we have to take something positive out of this game heading into our home game with Middle Tennessee."
The Tigers were playing their first game without leading scorer Bruce Price who was lost for the season with a knee injury in last Friday's game at Ohio State.
TSU jumped to a fast start opening a 13-2 lead at the 15:32 mark of the opening half. Iowa State Iowa State then made a 13-0 run to take the lead at 16-15 with 10:52 remaining. Iowa State carried a 34-23 lead into halftime.
In the second half, TSU faced its largest deficit at 51-38 with 7:04 left, before the Tigers made a 13-3 run of its own to pull within 54-51 with the chance to tie the game before ISU closed the game with five unanswered points.
Clarence Matthews led TSU with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds. Kareem Grant added 12. Wayne Arnold, the nation's third-ranked 3-point field goal shooter, was held in check by the Cyclones' defense, scoring one lone field goal. Arnold was coming off a 23-point performance at Ohio State.
Clark led ISU with 14 points. ISU was playing its first game since capturing the title of the Rainbow Classic on Friday night.