Eichelberger and Thomas shine as the Golden split two games


TUSKEGEE, Ala. –  The Golden Tiger had mixed success in their first two home games of 2012 as they split a pair of SIAC contests at the James Center.

They suffered a heart-stopping 77-74 decision to Stillman in the final seconds Monday before bouncing back to beat Miles 82-74 Saturday. 

The Golden Tigers (4-5, 4-3 SIAC) fought back from an 18-point second-half deficit and took a one-point lead in the final minutes. They fell behind courtesy of Stillman’s 16-0 run that began at the 16-minute mark that made the score 62-44. It was biggest lead of the game for either team.

The Golden Tigers methodically whittled away at Stillman’s lead and finally went ahead 69-68 with 2:34 when Javier McKinney made a pair of free throws. McKinney scored all nine of his points in the game during the Golden Tigers’ rally.  Joshua Eichelberger had eight points during the spurt. 

Eichelberger, who had a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, made a jumper to tie the score at 71-all with 2:13 left. Stillman had gone ahead by two points on Kenyour Young’s three-pointer. Stillman regained the lead, 74-71, on Ladarius Rhone’s three-pointer at the two-minute mark. The Golden Tigers pulled even when Lucius Winston converted one of two free throws with 1:26 left and Calvin Thomas made a jumper with 43 seconds showing on the clock.

Lee Riley, who was a thorn in the Golden Tigers’ side the entire game scoring 27 points, applied the dagger with a three-point play with five seconds remaining. Riley scored on a layup and was fouled in the act of shooting. He made the ensuing free throw to seal the victory for Stillman (5-5, 3-5 SIAC).

The Golden Tigers found themselves trailing by 10 points after the first nine minutes against Miles (6-6, 6-4 SIAC). They regrouped and went on a 16-2 run that put them ahead 28-24 with 2:36 remaining in the first half, and they never lost that lead.

The Golden Tigers carried a five-point lead into the second half. Miles trimmed the
Golden Tigers’ lead to two points, 37-35, with 16:52 remaining in the game. However, the Golden Tigers went on another run to put the game away. This time they outscored Miles 22-9 in a span of five minutes and built a 15-point margin. Eichelberger, who had 20 points in the contest, scored 10 points during the spurt. Miles never got closer than seven points the remainder of the night.

Thomas led the Golden Tigers with 29 points. The junior from Eufaula did most of his damage in the second half, scoring 20 points while shooting 6-for-9 from the field.

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