Tennessee St. 9-7,1-2 OVC
SIUE 11-5,2-1 OVC
Backcourt dynamos Jr. Clay, 22, and Marcus Fitzgerald, Jr., 21, combined for 43 points but their efforts were not enough as the Tennessee State men’s basketball team went down in defeat to SIUE, 81-72 Thursday night.
The Cougars showed the way for the entire first half, building a twelve-point advantage at 38-26 on DeeJuan Pruitt’s jumper with 4:26 to go in the half. TSU went on a 6-0 run via a basket and a pair of free throws from Fitzgerald Jr and another pair of free throws from Dedric Boyd to cut the lead in half at 38-32. A layup from Clay with 0:33 left in the half left the Tigers facing a six-point deficit at 40-34 at the break.
The Tigers spent the entirety of the second half playing uphill, trimming the lead to as little as 2 points at 66-64 on a steal and layup from Fitzgerald with 4:07 left in the contest. However they could never get over the hump and take the lead, as SIUE responded with four points to push the lead back to six points at 70-64. A Fitzgerald Jr layup closed the gap to four points at 72-68, with 0:55 left however the Cougars took care of business connecting on 8 of their last 9 free throws to stave off the Tigers.
In addition to Clay and Fitzgerald Jr, the other TSU players in double figures were Dedric Boyd, who put in 15 points and Adong Makuoi , who contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds.
The loss drops Tennessee State to 9-7 and 1-2 in the OVC.The good guys will look to get back in the win column January 7, when they hit the road to take on Lindenwood; tip-off time is TBA.