Tennessee State extends winning streak, defeats Eastern Illinois 65-61

Tennessee St. Logo


 Tennessee St. 14-11,6-6 OVC

Eastern Ill. Logo


Eastern Ill. 7-18,3-9 OVC

Tennessee St.28 37 65
Eastern Ill.25 36 61

The Tennessee State men’s basketball team extended their winning streak to three and pulled their OVC record to an even 6-6 with a 65-61 win over the Panthers of Eastern Illinois Saturday afternoon.

Tennessee State came out strong in the opening 4:35 minutes of play, taking an 11-3 lead on a David Acosta dunk that came off a feed from Marcus Fitzgerald Jr. The Tigers would show the way throughout the first half, with Eastern keeping within striking distance, coming within two points on two separate occasions before briefing the lead at 24-23 on the first of a pair of Nick Ellington free throws with 3:30 left in the half.

Tennessee State would score the next five points – a three -pointer from Justin Williams and a floater from Fitzgerald Jr that would give the Tiger a 28-25 lead heading into intermission.

TSU stumbled out of the gate in the second half, missing 12 of their first 14 field goal attempts, committing 4 turnovers and by the time the Tigers converted their second field goal until the 12:09 mark. they found themselves in a six-point deficit at 40-34. Tennessee State would play uphill for the majority of the ensuing 12 minutes, drawing to within a bucket or less on multiple occasions , tying the game at 57 on Zion Griffin’s three-pointer with 2:30 left in the game. TSU took the lead for the first time since the 18:34 mark of second half on Zool Kueth’s layup with 0:47 left in the game. The Panthers closed the gap to two points on two separate occasions , but when they were unable to secure a defensive rebound when Marcus Fitzgerald was able to get the offensive rebound off his own missed free throw with just 0:13 left in the game. Fitzgerald Jr was fouled and knocked down two from the charity stripe, pushing the TSU advantage to 63-59 with 0:10 left in the game. A Caleb Donaldson drive sliced the lead in half with 0:04 left but time and a pair of Jr Clay free throws preserved the win for the Tigers, 65-61.

With leading scorer Jr Clay a bit off his usual game with just 9 points , Zion Griffin led the way for the victors with 23 points , 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Marcus Fitzgerald put in 11 points, along with 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

Tennessee State will look to run their winning streak to four whey host SEMO Thursday ; tip-off is set for 8 PM CST.

Next Game:
Southeast Missouri State
2/9/2023 | 8:00 PM
102.1 The Ville

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