Sunday, January 8, 2017
TSU Tigers Take Down UT Martin, 76-65; McCall Reaches 1,000
NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Balanced scoring carried the Tennessee State men’s basketball team to a 76-65 win over UT Martin at the Gentry Center on Saturday night in Ohio Valley Conference action.
Delano Spencer (Atlanta, Ga.) led TSU (11-5, 2-1 OVC) with a career-high 19 points as Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 17 points apiece.
UT Martin (11-8, 1-3 OVC) led by as many as 12 points in the first half and had a 30-26 halftime edge before the Tigers outscored the Skyhawks by a 50-35 margin in the second half.
McCall, who played his first two collegiate seasons at Niagara, scored his 1,000th career Division I point on the night. The redshirt senior scored 330 points at Niagara and now has 683 for TSU for a total of 1,013 points. McCall had another all-around strong game with 17 points and seven rebounds while tying a career high with eight assists.
The Tigers dug themselves a 12-point hole just over 11 minutes into the game with the Skyhawks holding a 21-9 advantage. TSU clawed back into the game, cutting the deficit to single digits on a layup from Jordan Reed (Philadelphia, Pa.).
Tennessee State continued to battle, closing the half on a 7-0 run to trim UT Martin’s lead down to 30-26 at halftime.
Out of the break, TSU was able to take the lead less than two minutes into the half thanks to a pair of jumpers from Darreon Reddick (Belleville, Ill.). A 14-3 run gave the Tigers a double-digit advantage at 49-38 with 12:13 showing on the second half clock.
TSU would go on to lead by as many as 12 points on two occasions later in the half.
UT Martin closed the gap to five points with 6:34 remaining, but the Tigers regained their footing and stretched the advantage up to 11 in the last four minutes.
TSU forced 15 turnovers on the night and shot 48.3 percent (28-for-58) on the offensive end.
Fatodd Lewis paced the UT Martin offense with 11 points on the night.
TSU returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 12, with a road test at Eastern Kentucky.
GAME NOTES: Redshirt senior Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.) scored his 1,000th career point on a dunk with 6:34 left in the first half. McCall scored 330 in two seasons while playing for Niagara before transferring to TSU… TSU is now 33-25 in the all-time series versus UT Martin… The win snapped UT Martin’s three-game winning streak in the series… Third-year Head Coach Dana Ford has now beaten the 11 other OVC teams.
TSU Head Coach Dana Ford
“It is a good win for us. I have a lot of respect for that program and what they have been able to do the last two plus years now. I think over the last two years ourselves and them have the most wins in the OVC. I thought our players did a really good job of attacking the zone in the second half not so much in the beginning. If we are going to win we have to get stops and rebound and I thought in the second half we did a much better job. We were down by seven on the glass at half time and we finished the game plus two. That is our standard and that’s what we are going to win with. We are going to live and die with defense and rebounding.”
- Opening Statement
“I thought he was awesome and that’s why he started the second half. He struggled with his shot a little bit this year; but he made a big shot for us late in the half. He is a really good player, he puts a lot of pressure on himself. We love him to death. He makes us a better team. It is a long season, this second half of the season hopefully he steps up and plays well for us every game. We know he is capable of it. He is really just finding his way.”
- On the Play of Armani Chaney
“His number one role is leadership. If he does not lead us then we are not going anywhere. He had a couple of games there where he was not being a good leader. Those are two games we did not win. The last two games he has really been a leader for us. Tonight we needed him to be a play maker, and give us a spark in that zone. The basketball part is easy. He can do that every day of the week. It is the mental things the leadership, his mindset, his commitment to do it every single day. Those are the things that can make him a great player.”
- On Tahjere McCall’s Role
“We brought him here to make some shots. Last year we had a kid by the name of Marcus Roper to make shots. This year that is supposed to be Delano Spencer. He does not have the luxury that Rope had last year of being in the program for a year, and what we want, and how to get it done. It has taken him a little time to do that. This is like his third or fourth game hitting like five threes. He makes us a better team. He is a guy that can get us 12 to 13 points off the bench.”
- On the Play of Delano Spencer
“He was awesome tonight. It was a total team effort and his game was the epitome of that. I do not think he scored a basket but he helped on their guards. He rebounded, he defended, he deflected balls, he protected the basket, he got loose balls, he handled the ball against the press. It was just a total team effort. When I told him he was not starting the second half he just kept on doing what he does. That speaks to the character of the kid and that is why we won tonight.”
- On the Play of Christian Mekowulu
Sophomore, Armani Chaney
“I was just trying to be very aggressive for the team. They started off pretty hot, so I was just trying to get everybody involved and knock down the open shot. I am kind of a quick pace guard. I like to get into transition a lot, so that is how we normally go.”
- On His Spark to the Team
Redshirt Senior, Tahjere McCall
“I love playing with him. When he comes in, it brings a different pace. He is good in traffic and does great getting in cracks. And with their zone, it is a really good zone, it is tough to penetrate because they fly around and match up so well. When he came in, it allowed me to get off the ball and cut with him. He is a great passer. Playing with him really opens up the passing lanes. We just know we have to cut and get open and he will find us.”
- On Armani Chaney’s Play
“I wish I could put a price on it. When you have shooters like (Delano Spencer), Darreon (Reddick), Armani (Chaney); Ken’Darrius (Hamilton) didn’t get to shoot that much today, but when you have shooters knocking down shots it is hard to stay in a zone. So, you need people to extend the zone so the people that slash have a chance to get in cracks and find our way. Delano was big for us today, as he has been all year. It is always somebody different each game. We just need to keep having a team effort.”
- On the Play of Delano Spencer
“Darreon (Reddick) is more than just a shooter. When he picked his spots, we weren’t surprised. We expect that out of him. When he’s playing like that, it is pretty hard to stop everybody on our team, because everybody brings something different. So when you have to stop a shooter that can also drive, it is pretty hard to stay in front of him.”
- On the Play of Darreon Reddick
“It means a lot. Many people do not get to do that, so it just goes to show how much my teammates mean to me. It was my 1,000th point, but we celebrate together. Especially here at Tennessee State with the family I have grown to love and they love me. It’s priceless.”
- On Scoring his 1,000th Career Point
TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS