NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State held a 20-point lead with eight minutes remaining in the second half, but the Tigers hit a cold spell and Eastern Kentucky mounted a furious rally to post a 79-74 Ohio Valley Conference victory Thursday night.
The Tigers were in apparent cruise control against the Colonels and built their largest lead at 71-51 following a pair of Wayne Arnold free throws at the 7:59 mark. However, the Colonels would then go on a 16-0 run to pull to 71-67 with 3:58 remaining.
The Tigers broke the long scoreless streak when Kareem Grant hit a layup at the 2:33 mark to make the score 73-68. The Colonels tied the game with 1:14 left on a John McLeish layup.
After the Tigers failed to convert, EKU took the lead for good following a McLeish layup with 36 seconds left, making the score 76-74. TSU would not score the rest of the way and Michael Brock made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 19 seconds to seal the win.
The defeat spoiled a career-night by senior forward Kareem Grant who tallied 31 points, making 12-of-22 field goals, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range. Clarence Matthews added 12, Reiley Ervin 11, and Wayne Arnold 10.
Matt Witt scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half. McLeish helped lead the Colonels rally, tallying 18 of his 23 points in the final half. EKU shot 61 percent in the second half (17-of-28) and finished at 52 percent (28-of-54) for the game.