Tennessee State picked up another conference win, handing UT Martin only their second home defeat of season, 88-82 Thursday night.
UT Martin got out early, jumping on TSU 14-6 but Tennessee State responded with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 14 apiece and took their first lead of the night at 16-14 on a putback dunk from Adong Makuoi. Tennessee State would remain out front for the rest of the half, using a 33-7 run in the building of as much as an 18-point lead when a Zion Griffin three-pointer made the score 39-21. This time it was UT Martin’s turn to respond with the Skyhawks going a 10-0 run of their own to cut the lead to 41-33 at the half.
UT Martin was tenacious in the second half, methodically chipping away at the Tennessee State lead before finally taking the lead on Jordan Seals’ layup that put the Skyhawks up 67-66. Martin’s time out front would be short-lived as TSU would regain the lead, 68-67, on their next possession off a thunderous putback throwdown from Makuoi. A Dedric Boyd four-point play put the Tigers back up by 5 at 72-67.
The Skyhawks cut the lead to two points or less on multiple occasions, however, Tennessee State showed poise and resolve, responding every time Martin seemed on the verge of reclaiming control of the game.
Zion Griffin lead four Tigers in double figures with 19 points; Adong Makuoi scored 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds. Marcus Fitzgerald Jr added 15 points and Dedric Boyd chipped in 12 points. Jr Clay dominated with his scoring in the last game but the OVC’s leading scorer put his passing prowess on display, dishing out 11 assists.
With the win, Tennessee State is now 18-12 overall and now at 10-7 in the conference is part of a four-way log jam for second place in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Up next for Tennessee State is their regular season finale when they host Southern Indiana this Saturday; tip-off is set for 3:30 pm CST.
Next Game: Southern Indiana 2/25/2023 | 3:30 PM ESPN+ 102.1 The Ville