Title image via Tennessee State Athletics
Winner Tennessee St. 4-1,0-0 OVC
Hot shooting in the second half, TSU shot a blistering 63.6% in the game’s final 20 minutes, allowing the Tigers of Tennessee State to break open a close game against the Midway Eagles for an 87-70 win Monday night.
Midway got off to a fast start, scoring the first six points of the evening. The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw eight lead changes, with the largest lead for both teams being six points- 6-0 for Midway and 26-20 for Tennessee State.
After the aforementioned six-point opening salvo from Midway, back-to-back triples from Justin Williams and Christian Brown tied the game at 6 apiece.
The teams swapped the lead with nearly every basket for the next 8 minutes until a Marcus Fitzgerald Jr three-pointer and a pair of free throws from Michael Shanks put the Tigers out in front 21-17 with 8:07 left in the half. Tennessee State took a 26-20 lead on a Shanks slam dunk. Midway battled back to tie the contest at 27 before taking a 29-27 lead on a jumper from Jalen Cincore. TSU tied things back at 29 with a Kinyon Morgan jump shot. The Eagles jumped back in front, where they would remain for the rest of the half, on a pair of free throws from Will Vanhook. The Eagles would take a 35-32 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Tigers took the lead 37-35 on a pair of free throws and a triple from EJ Bellinger Jr just 24 seconds into the half. As was the case so often in the first half, the teams would take turns out in front as a Bellinger layup was bookended by three-pointers from Tim Fuller, giving the Eagles a 41-39 advantage. Midway would build a seven-point lead at 48-41 on a Nick Keaton layup with 16:21 left in the contest. Tennessee State came roaring back, taking a 52-51 lead on David Acosta’s layup with. 13:16 remaining. After Midway struck back with a Vanhook layup that briefly put them in front once more at 53-52, with 12:59 remaining, Tennessee State outscored Midway 27-13 over the next 9:54 to take extend to a 79-65 lead with 2:53 to go in the game. Tennessee State kept their proverbial foot on the gas, building as much as a twenty-point advantage on the way to claim an 87-70 victory.
EJ Bellinger led four Tigers in double figures with 19 points; Kinyon Hodges added 16 points, Marcus Fitzgerald put in 14 and Jaylen Jones chipped in 10 points and 9 rebounds.
In a losing effort, Jalen Cincore led four Eagles in double figures with 17 points.
Up next for Tennessee State (4-1, 0-0) is a trip to Niceville, FL to take part in the Emerald Coast Classic, where they will take on Mercer at 11 AM on Friday, November 24.
Next Game: vs. Mercer 11/24/2023 | 11:00 AM FloHoops WNSR — 560 AM, 95.9 FM (Nashville), 107.9 FM (Smyrna)