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December 22, 20151st2ndFinal
Tennessee State233255
Stats at a GlanceTSUMBBILS
FG Percentage.377 (23-61) .468 (22-47)
3P FG Percentage.286 (6-21) .391 (9-23)
FT Percentage.375 (3-8) .813 (13-16)
Offensive Rebounds97
Defensive Rebounds1932
Total Rebounds2839
Bench Points4320
PointsDESHIELDS - 16
Hawkins - 10
Griffin - 10
Akoon-Purcell - 10
ReboundsMARTIN - 6
Banyard - 11
AssistsRICHARDS - 3
Griffin - 3
Hawkins - 2
BlocksROPER - 1
Ndiaye - 5
TSU Falls in Road Game at Illinois State, 66-55
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
TSU Falls in Road Game at Illinois State, 66-55


NORMAL, Ill. – Completing a stretch with five games in 11 days, the Tennessee State men's basketball team suffered a 66-55 road defeat at Illinois State on Tuesday night at Redbird Arena. The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak for the Tigers.

Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.) scored a game-high 16 points, while Christian Griggs-Williams (Milwaukee, Wisc.) added a career-best 12 points  to go with six rebounds for the Tigers (9-3). TSU could not overcome a strong shooting effort by Illinois State (6-7), which finished 22-for-47 (46.8 percent) from the field and made nine three-pointers.

“I thought Illinois State was really good today,” second-year Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford said. “I thought for the first time all year our guys didn’t have that fight and part of that is on me. It’s just one game, and we’ll move on from it.”

Ford, who played at Illinois State from 2002-06 and was the Associate Head Coach for ISU from 2012-14, was facing his alma mater for the first time as a head coach.

For the Redbirds, Deontae Hawkins, Roland Griffin and DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell posted 10 points apiece. ISU won the battle on the glass with 39 rebounds to TSU's 28. It is just the second time all season the Tigers were outrebounded. 

A jumper from Demontez Loman (South Port, N.C.) nearly four minutes into the game gave TSU an early 6-5 advantage. Over the next six minutes, however, the Redbirds limited the Tigers to one basket as ISU took advantage with an 11-2 run for a 16-8 lead midway through the half.

The Redbirds saw their lead grow to as much as 15 points at 34-19 with just under two minutes on the first-half clock. Griggs-Williams, who led all scorers through 20 minutes with nine points, tallied TSU’s final four points of the half to cut the deficit to 35-23 heading into the intermission.

In the first half, Illinois State shot 13-for-24 (54.2 percent), including 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from three-point range.

The Redbirds held onto the advantage throughout the second half, leading by 18 points on four occasions. The Tigers battled back and cut the deficit down to 10 at 63-53 on a three from Neville Fincher (Teaneck, N.J.) with 2:22 to play, but that was as close as the visitors would get down the stretch.

Coming off the bench for the first time this season, DeShields scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half.

The Tigers defense forced Illinois State to turn the ball over 17 times and scored 19 points off turnovers. 

Next up, TSU breaks for the holidays before traveling to Knoxville, Tenn. to take on the University of Tennessee on Dec. 29. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET (noon CT) for a game on the SEC Network.

GAME NOTES: Senior Xavier Richards (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) made his first start of the season… Freshman Samson Oyediran (London, England) started for the first time in his career…  TSU’s record versus Illinois State falls to 3-3… TSU has gone 12-16 versus teams that currently make up the Missouri Valley Conference… The Tigers fall to 5-2 in games away from home and 3-2 in true road games.  

Tennessee State Head Coach Dana Ford

“It was nice. I was happy to see them do well. Obviously, I wanted Tennessee State to win, but anytime you see these young kids doing well and getting their education, it’s good to see… It was nice to be back.”

  • On seeing Illinois State players he recruited during time as an assistant

“We knew that they were going to be bigger than us, we just didn’t know at what point in the game. I’ve got to watch the tape to see if their size bothered us. Maybe on the defensive end. On the defensive end, they were able to shrink the floor in our motion a little bit and force us to go certain ways off of our cuts, but we weren’t too surprised because we knew that they could go to that lineup at some time.”

  • On facing Illinois State’s length