NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State rallied from a double digit deficit and then survived a late surge by visiting Jacksonville State to hold and defeat the Gamecocks 83-80 in Ohio Valley Conference basketball play Monday night.
With the victory, the Tigers improve to 8-10 overall and 7-5 in the OVC, moving past the Gamecocks in the conference standings into a tie for fourth place with Eastern Kentucky. Jacksonville State falls to 9-10 and 7-6.
Tennessee State trailed 33-22 with less than four minutes left in the first half, before cutting the difference to 39-32 at halftime.
The Tigers came out quickly in the second half, making a 24-6 run over the first eight minutes to build a 56-45 lead at the 12-minute mark following a 3-point field goal by Reiley Ervin.
TSU would maintain a doubled-digit lead with under five minutes remaining before the Gamecocks made a run and were within two points, 78-76 with 42 seconds left.
However, TSU answered the challenge as Kareem Grant had a fast break dunk and the Tigers made 3-of-4 free throws.
Grant led the Tigers with 22 points while Arnold finished with 19 points. Clarence Matthews had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds and Andrae Belton scored 10 points off the bench. The Tigers had 11 blocked shots, with Matthews recording five and Larry Turner four.
JSU was led by B.J. Spencer with 15 points. The Gamecocks got 10 points each from Anthony Wilson, Courtney Bradley, and Dorien Brown.
After shooting just 33 percent in the opening half, the Tigers came back in the second half to shot 68 percent (15-of-22) from the field.