Golden Tigers earn #1 seed and academic conference championship
The Golden Tigers split their final two games of the regular season to earn the #1 seed in the SIAC’s West Division and will play Claflin University in their first game of the 2013 SIAC Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. After falling to Kentucky State University in Frankfort on a last-second shot, Tuskegee earned a win inside the Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn. to secure the regular season division title.
Last Thursday in Frankfort, the Golden Tigers outshot the Thorobreds in field goal percentage (41.8 to 36.7 percent) but it was not enough as Kentucky State earned a 72-70 victory. Calvin (C.J.) Thomas, who was recently named to the SIAC’s All-Conference team, finished the game with 14 points and seven rebounds. Javier McKinney led the team in scoring with 16 points, as Richard Dixon and Graham Olatunji both scored in double figures as they had 11 points each. However, the Golden Tigers could not overcome Darquell Pulliam’s 31 points, and TU had their three-game winning streak broken.
The Golden Tigers would recover against Lane College on Saturday night, as they earned a 82-71 win over the Dragons to enter the postseason with an overall record of 14-12 (13-4 in SIAC). Dixon was the game’s leading scorer, as he finished with 20 points to compliment six rebounds. Thomas was the only other Tuskegee player to score in double figures, as he finished with 16 points and six boards. Shaquille Cook, recently named the SIAC’s Freshman of the Year, had identical games of six points and six rebounds during both games played last week.
In a significant accomplishment for academic excellence in TU Athletics, the Golden Tigers were one of only two teams to have two players named to the All-Academic team, which was a contributing factor in the conference choosing Tuskegee as All-Academic Champions for the basketball season. Julius Taylor, a native of Montgomery, Ala., earned a 3.77 GPA while majoring in chemical engineering, and Moriah Johnson, a native of Los Angeles, Calif., earned a 3.39 GPA while majoring in occupational therapy.
Tuskegee will play their first game of the SIAC Tournament against Claflin University in a game schedule for 3:15 p.m. EST, 2:15 CST. Claflin earned the right to play TU by defeating Lane College 79-68 in a game played Monday afternoon at Frank Forbes Arena in Atlanta. In the regular season meeting between the Golden Tigers and Panthers, Javier McKinney scored 15 points to help Tuskegee to a 58-50 victory on Jan. 14th.
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