Tennessee State’s comeback bid falls short against Western Illinois, 68-61

title image via Tennessee State Basketball

Courtesy of Tennessee State Athletics

Western Ill. Logo


Winner WIU

Tennessee St. Logo



WIU34 34 68
TSU17 44 61

The Tennessee State men’s basketball team got a 21-point showing from the bench, but fell 68-61 to the Western Illinois Leathernecks at home Saturday.

The Tigers (15-12, 8-6) had two players score in double figures, led by Marcus Fitzgerald Jr., who had 20 points. Jason Jitoboh tacked on 13 points and Jaylen Jones added eight points and two steals.

Led by Ej Bellinger’s three offensive rebounds, Tennessee State did a great job crashing the offensive glass, pulling down 17 boards that resulted in 12 second-chance points.

The Tennessee State defense held Western Illinois shooters to only 39.3 percent from the field.

How It Happened

Tennessee State struggled out of the gate, falling behind 34-17 heading into halftime.

Tennessee State narrowed its deficit to 48-37 before going on a 7-0 run, finished off by Fitzgerald Jr.’s layup, to shrink the deficit to 48-44 with 8:12 to go in the contest. Western Illinois responded and outscored the Tigers the rest of the way, ending the game with a final score of 68-61. Tennessee State capitalized on eight Western Illinois turnovers in the period, collecting 15 points off those turnovers.

Game Notes» The Tigers held the Leathernecks to only 39.3 percent shooting from the field.
» The Tennessee State bench came alive by adding 21 points to its scoring output.
» Tennessee State lost despite a 41-39 rebounding advantage.
» Tennessee State cleaned up on the offensive glass, collecting 17 offensive boards in the game.
» Marcus Fitzgerald Jr. led the Tigers with 20 points.
» Tennessee State got a team-high seven rebounds from Ej Bellinger.

Next Up

The Tigers will continue their three-game homestand with a matchup against Eastern Illinois on Thursday. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. 

Next Game:
Eastern Illinois
2/22/2024 | 7:30 PM
WNSR — 560 AM, 95.9 FM (Nashville), 107.9 FM (Smyrna)

Team Statistics

Game StatsWIUTSU

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