1. Tennessee State struggled to get the ball inside to leading scorer Christian Mekowulu early with the junior forward going scoreless until the 10:21 mark of the first half. Senior guard Delano Spencer picked up the slack scoring 11 of the Tigers first 13 points, including shooting 3 of 4 from three-point range.
2. For the first half, TSU only shot 44 percent from the field, while Morehead State wasn’t much better at 48 percent. Both teams were relatively equal in three-point shooting with the Tigers connecting on 6 of 13 attempts, five of which coming from Spencer, while the Eagles shot 5 of 12 from behind the arc.
3. Mekowulu had his struggles throughout the first half. The Lagos, Nigeria native by way of Covenant Christian High School in Georgia totaled more turnovers, 3, than field goals, 1, in the half. Mekowulu finished the half with 4 points, two coming from the free-throw line, and 7 rebounds.
4. After Mekowulu’s 1 for 5 effort in the first half, TSU head coach Dana Ford opted to start the second half with Stokley Chaffee Jr. at the center position over Mekowulu but that only lasted a few possessions as Mekowulu returned with 18:03 to play.
5. Spencer didn’t stop lighting the Eagles up in in the second half. Having what may have been his best game in a Tiger uniform, Spencer scored a career-high 32 points on 11 of 17 shooting, including 7 for 11 from three, also a career best. The senior from Atlanta will get one final chance to impress the Gentry Center crowd on senior night Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.
6. TSU lead by 18, 56-38 with 10:49 left in the game but saw that lead shrink to as low as five, 67-62 with 4:54 to play before using an 8-0 run to stretch their advantage back out to 13, 75-62 with 3:13 to go.
7 Make that seven straight for Ford and TSU as the Tigers move to 15-11 overall and 10-5 in the OVC. The win combined with Jacksonville State’s loss at Murray State gives the Tigers sole possession of fourth place and a bye into the quarterfinals of the OVC tournament, where they’ll need to win three games in three nights to earn the leagues automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
8. For the second straight game, Ford received a suboptimal performance from Mekowulu but it didn’t matter. The junior was saddled with foul trouble during Saturday’s 65-47 win over Jacksonville start where he went scoreless attempting only one field goal and totaling as many fouls, 5, as minutes played, 5. Tonight, Mekowulu scored six points on 2 of 8 shooting.
9. The Tigers have proven that they can beat anyone in the OVC, having beaten league leader Belmont at home a week ago and sweeping the season series against last year’s league champion Jacksonville State. One final home contest awaits the Tigers before traveling to Cookeville to face Tennessee Tech followed by the season finale and an opportunity at the season sweep over Belmont next Saturday. The conference tournament moving to Evansville will take away any possible home court advantage the streaking Tigers could’ve had at former tournament venue Municipal Auditorium but considering how they’ve played lately, venue and location won’t be the biggest factor in the team’s success.
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