NASHVILLE --- Visiting Samford scored the first five points of the second half and never gave up the lead in posting a 64-54 Ohio Valley Conference victory over host Tennessee State Thursday night in the Gentry Center.
The Tigers had led 25-24 at halftime, but the Bulldogs converted its first two 3-point field goals of the second half to open a five-point lead. After Kareem Grant made a field goal to cut the lead to three points at 30-27, the Tigers would not get closer in the contest.
Samford opened a double digit advantage for good following Ryan Woolsey's layup to make the score 47-36 at the 10:33 mark. The Tigers would cut the deficit to 10 points five times, but could never cut the lead to singles figures.
The Bulldogs won for the 12th time in their last 14 games to run their overall record to 15-6 and 11-3 in the OVC. TSU had a two-game winning streak snapped and fall to 8-11 and 7-6.
Samford shot 52 percent in the second half and 48 percent for the game. J. Robert Merritt led the Bulldogs with 18 points, followed by Randall Gulina with 16, and Jerry Smith with 12.
Clarence Matthews had a 22-point and 14-rebound performance spoiled with the defeat for the Tigers. Ten of Matthews boards came on the offensive end. Wayne Arnold added 12 points for TSU which shot 39 percent from the field.
The Tigers had opened the game by scoring the first seven points. Samford came back and took its first lead at 11-10. The Tigers trailed until Reiley Ervin's layup gave TSU a 25-24 lead with under a minute to play in the first half.