Golden Tigers set for SIAC Tournament run


TUSKEGEE, Ala. –  The Golden Tigers remained in third place in the SIAC race by winning two out of three games last week.

They began the week with a 75-70 home victory against Morehouse on Feb. 14 before splitting a pair of road games. They lost at Lane College 69-64 on Feb. 17 and ended the week with a 74-61 victory at Kentucky State on Feb. 19.

The Golden Tigers are 15-8 overall and 15-6 in the SIAC with three games remaining and are in position to overtake Stillman College for the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. They host Paine College Tuesday before traveling to Fort Valley State Thursday. They end the season with a home game against second place Stillman on Saturday. The Golden Tigers trail Stillman by a half game.

The Golden Tigers subdued Morehouse with a solid team effort; all five starters scored between eight and 14 points and two produced double-doubles. Javier McKinney and Andrae Nelson led the Golden Tigers with 14 points each, and Aaron Ragsdale scored 11. Lucious Winston and Joshua Eichelberger chipped in with eight and nine points, respectively.

Ragsdale and Nelson, last week’s SIAC Co-Player of the Week, had 10 rebounds each for double-doubles.

The Golden Tigers had one of their better first-half offensive performances of the season in the opening 20 minutes. They shot 57% (16-for-28) from the field and were 8-for-8 from the free throw line while scoring 43 points. They grabbed a 10-point lead, 24-14, midway through the half. But Morehouse manage to hang around, thanks in part to 10 Golden Tiger turnovers, and the margin was 43-36 going into the second half.

The Golden Tigers regained a double-digit lead in the first three minutes of the second half with a 9-2 run that made the score 52-38. Morehouse outscored the Golden Tigers 20-9 over a 6 ½ minute span and tied the score at 65-all with 7:42 remaining. The Maroon Tigers completed their comeback by taking a three-point lead, 70-67, with 4:16 left.

Ragsdale’s layup cut the lead to a point, and Eichelberger’s tip-in at the three-minute mark put the Golden Tigers ahead once again. Winston and McKinney scored on layups in the last 1:02 for the final margin.

Turnovers were the Golden Tigers’ undoing as they went on the road and lost to Lane College. They turned the ball over 21 times, and the Dragons converted the miscues into 19 points. The Golden Tigers, who beat the Dragons 79-58 at the James Center last month, committed 16 turnovers in the first half as they fell behind.

The Dragons went on an 18-3 run and grabbed a 36-19 lead with 4:56 left in the first half. The Golden Tigers committed four turnovers in less than four minutes during Lane’s spurt and attempted just two field goals, missing both of them. Their only points came on free throws by McKinney and Ragsdale.

The Golden Tigers cut the deficit to 38-31 at the half, but they fell behind 13 points in the first three minutes of the final period. They cut the lead to two points, 66-64, with 41 seconds left in the game, but were unable to overtake the Dragons.

Derrick White and Jeremy Williams led the Golden Tigers with 12 points each.

The Golden Tigers rode a hot-shooting second half to victory at Kentucky State. They shot 53% (16-for-30) in the final 20 minutes as they stretched a one-point halftime lead to double figures. Thomas and White led the second-half surge with 10 points each. Thomas was the Golden Tigers’ leading scorer in the contest with 24 points. White chipped in with 16.

The Golden Tigers, who led 30-29 at the half, increased their advantage to 13 points in the first 10½ minutes of the final period. They maintained a double-digit lead for the rest of the game and were ahead by as many as 16 points at one juncture.

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