Golden Tigers defeat Miles and LeMoyne-Owen

1/6/2011

TUSKEGEE- Ala. - The Golden Tigers started the New Year on a positive note with a pair of home victories as they pulled away from their opponent in the second half of each game.

The Golden Tigers defeated Miles 62-48 at the James Center on Jan. 3 in their first game following a two-week break for Christmas; they followed up that win with a 77-67 victory against LeMoyne-Owen on Jan. 6. The victories improved the Golden Tigers’ record to 4-3 overall and 4-1 in the SIAC, where they are in second place behind Kentucky State.

Sophomore guard Calvin Thomas averaged 16 points and shot 50% from the field (10-for-20) for the week to spark the Golden Tigers offensively as they won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Thomas, MVP of the 2010 SIAC Tournament, scored a season-high 20 points in the Golden Tigers’ win against LeMoyne-Owen. He was 5-for-11 from the floor, including 4-for-4 from behind the three-point line. Javier McKinney, Lorell Friend and Aaron Ragsdale contributed 10 points each. Ragsdale also had 10 rebounds for a double-double.

The Golden Tigers found themselves in a nip-and-tuck game in the first half against LeMoyne-Owen. They were on top by a point, 35-34 at the intermission after leading 25-17 at the 9:19 mark.

Thomas ignited the Golden Tigers at the start of the second half with his overall play. First he grabbed a defensive rebound; then he made a three-point shot that gave the Golden Tigers a 38-34 lead. He followed that with another defensive rebound before converting a pair of free throws. The Golden Tigers went on to build a 16-point lead, 56-40. LeMoyne-Owen rallied to within four points, 65-61, with 2:23 left, but the Golden Tigers converted eight consecutive free throws down the stretch to preserve the win.

The Golden Tigers put Miles away with a 28-8 spurt at the start of the second half. They led 28-25 at the end of the first half only to have Miles tie the score with a three-pointer on its first possession of the second half.

From that point on, it was all Golden Tigers. They outscored Miles 11-1 in a five-minute span to take a 10-point lead, 39-29, with 15:03 left in the game. The lead grew to 15 points, 49-34 at the 11:18 mark when Thomas rebounded a Miles miss, pushed the ball up the floor and fed Garland Robertson for a fast break layup.

Thomas and Andrae Nelson were the Golden Tigers’ leading scorers with 12 points each.

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