The Tennessee State men’s basketball team’s historic season came to a close with a 78-73 loss to Ball State at the Gentry Center in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament on Monday night.
The Tigers (20-11) tied the school’s Division I record with 20 wins, marking the third 20-win season in the program’s D-1 history. TSU also finished tied with the school record for home wins at the Gentry Center with 11.
Playing in postseason play for the fifth time at the Division I level and in the CIT for the third time, the Tigers were led by 25 points from Keron DeShields (Baltimore, Md.) to go with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals by Tahjere McCall (Philadelphia, Pa.).
TSU held a 27-14 halftime edge, but Ball State (20-13) outscored the Tigers by a 38-25 margin in the second half to force overtime. In the first overtime, both teams scored 12 points before the Cardinals earned the win by outscoring the Tigers, 14-9, in the second overtime.
TSU sprinted out to a 20-3 lead as the Tigers held Ball State to 1-for-16 shooting in the first 11 minutes.
The Tigers held the Cardinals to single digits until the 3:46 mark of the first half when a Jeremie Tyler three cut the TSU lead down to 22-10.
Tennessee State’s stifling defense limited Ball State to 5-for-29 (17.2 percent) shooting in the first half as the Tigers took a 27-14 lead into the locker rooms. The 14 points are the fewest allowed by TSU in a half this season.
Ball State continued to climb back into the game and took its first lead on Trey Moses’ three pointer for a 45-44 advantage with 5:57 left in regulation.
The game went back-and-forth until DeShields’ free throw level the score at 52-52 with 17.7 seconds left. On Ball State’s last possession of regulation, the Cardinals’ layup attempt was off the mark, forcing overtime.
In the first overtime session, Ball State took a 62-58 lead with 1:06 left before the Tigers were able to close the period with a 6-2 run capped by DeShields’ three with 5.7 seconds to send the game to double overtime.
During the second overtime, the Cardinals quickly jumped out to a five-point lead at 69-64 with 3:26 left. TSU was never able to recover, getting as close as two points the rest of the way.
The Tigers, which forced 31 turnovers on the night, were led on the glass by Wayne Martin (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 11 boards. Ball State was paced by 25 points from Tyler and 20 points from Ryan Weber.
GAME NOTES: TSU is now 0-3 all-time in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament… The Tigers fall to 2-1 in the all-time series versus Ball State… TSU is 41-18 all-time in postseason tournaments… TSU was appearing in postseason play at the Division I level for the fifth time… TSU held Ball State to just 14 points in the first half. It is the fewest points TSU has allowed in a half this season and the third time the Tigers have held a team under 20 points in a half… TSU played its second overtime game of the season and first since a 93-90 double overtime win at Stetson on Dec. 14.