|January 27, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||EIU||TSU|
|FG Percentage||.292 (14-48)||.447 (17-38)|
|3P FG Percentage||.263 (5-19)||.231 (3-13)|
|FT Percentage||1.000 (14-14)||.619 (13-21)|
TEAM - 5
CROSSLAND - 1
JONES - 1
STARKS - 1
CHAFFEE JR. - 1
MEKOWULU - 1
Final Score: Tennessee State 50 - Eastern Illinois 47
Records: TSU (10-11, 5-5 OVC) – EIU (7-14, 3-7 OVC)
Venue: Gentry Center
Location: Nashville, Tenn.
NASHVILLE --- In a low-scoring Ohio Valley Conference showdown where both teams scored 19 points in the first half, the Tennessee State men’s basketball team earned a hard-fought 50-47 victory over Eastern Illinois at the Gentry Center on Saturday night. Christian Mekowulu secured his seventh career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
TSU (10-11, 5-5 OVC) held EIU (7-14, 3-7 OVC) to 29.2 percent shooting on the night and outrebounded the Panthers by a 32-27 margin.
Up by one with just under a minute to play, Mekowulu cleaned up an offensive rebound, finished a layup and hit a free throw to give the Tigers a 49-45 lead. After a layup from EIU’s Jajuan Starks cut the Tigers’ lead down to 49-47, Mekowulu was fouled and hit one free throw with 6.7 seconds left for a three-point lead.
TSU again came up with a stop on EIU’s final possession to preserve the win.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- TSU LEADERS
- POINTS – Christian Mekowulu - 27
- REBOUNDS – Christian Mekowulu - 10
- ASSISTS – Armani Chaney - 4
- TSU held Eastern Illinois to 19 first half points.
- It was the second game in a row holding an opponent to 20 or fewer points in the first half.
- It was the fourth time this season the Tigers have held a team to 20 points or fewer in a half and the 19th time in fourth-year Head Coach Dana Ford.
- Christian Mekowulu scored in double figures for the 14th time this season and the 27th time in his career.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Christian Mekowulu scored eight of TSU’s first 12 points as the Tigers took a 12-7 lead halfway through the first half.
- TSU limited Eastern Illinois to 26.1 percent (6-of-23) shooting while forcing 10 turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
- The Tigers led by five points at 19-14 with 1:15 left before halftime, but the Panthers leveled the scoring at 19-19 at the break thanks to a 5-0 run to close the half.
- Mekowulu continued to dominate after the break, scoring eight points in the opening eight minutes of the second half to help TSU take a 35-30 lead.
- After EIU bounced back to take a three-point lead, Armani Chaney drilled a three then dished out an assist for a Mekowulu dunk to help the Tigers regain the advantage at 42-40 with 4:30 left.
- Up 46-45 with just over a minute to play, TSU came up with a stop. On the next possession, Mekowulu cleaned up the offensive board, put up a tough layup and made his fouls shot for a 49-45 lead with 45.1 seconds left.
- EIU’s Jajuan Starks hit a layup with 40.5 seconds remaining to cut TSU's lead down to 49-47.
- The Panthers forced a turnover with 19.0 seconds left down 49-47, but TSU got a stop on the other end. Mekowulu was fouled with 6.7 seconds left and made one free throw for a 50-47 lead.
- TSU again came up with a stop on EIU’s final possession.
- TSU is 29-23 in the all-time series versus Eastern Illinois.
- Tennessee State is 30-20 at the Gentry Center under fourth-year Head Coach Dana Ford.
- The Tigers are 2-0 when facing a team for the second time this season.
Head Coach Dana Ford
“Probably the players although we did not execute very well down the stretch in late game situations, the good Lord was good to us tonight and gave us a good lucky bounce on the rim. Then obviously late with the review of the play, we’re just happy with the win and giving thanks to the Lord.”
-Overview of the game
“It has been the talk for this whole year. I just feel that it opens up the offense. Tonight, unfortunately, we didn’t make many shots from three. We have to throw the ball inside. It doesn’t make any sense not to throw it down to the guy that can get 25 points and shoot 60 percent from the floor and 85 percent from the free-throw line. What we need to continue to do is defend. We’ll score the points, we just need to guard.”
-On the emphasis of getting the ball inside
“You have to give credit to them, that’s something they’re really good at, and they’re long. Their 3 man is 6’6’’ - 6’7’’ and we put Delano Spencer who is 6’2’’. We did not do a great job of checking out, but when you’re defending at the clip that we were, I mean they scored six field goals in one half. The good Lord is good to them too, and he’s going to let the ball bounce their way a time or to as well. But defensively, we felt that we were great - 47 points, 29 percent, they did go to the free-throw line a little too much, but we can live with nine second-chance points if we hold them to 47.”
-On EIU’s offense
“I just thought mentally, those two were the most mentally prepared to play tonight. I thought some other guys, what ever reason, I don’t know, they were mentally there. I guess that’s my job as a coach to get them mentally prepared. I’ll have to do a better job at that. It was evident who was ready and ready to go. You named them - Armani Chaney and Christian Mekowulu, especially offensively. Defensively, we got good efforts from everyone. But for whatever reason, we just didn’t have the same pop to us offensively, and we’ll take this week leading up to our next game on Thursday to see how we can help them.”
-Mekowulu Chaney teamwork
- The Tigers will travel to Kentucky for a pair of Ohio Valley Conference matchups.
- The road swing begins at Morehead State on Feb. 1 and concludes at Eastern Kentucky on Feb. 3.
- Both games will air on the OVC Digital Network and on the radio on 102.1 The Ville.