Golden Tigers win 2-of-3 on road swing


TUSKEGEE, Ala. –   The Golden Tigers, casted in the role of road warriors, slipped into a tie for first place in the SIAC despite winning two out of three conference games away from the James Center last week.

The Golden Tigers, 3-2 on their six-game road swing, began the week with a 77-75 double-overtime win Tuesday at Claflin; two nights later, they lost to Benedict, 86-72. They finished the week by knocking off Paine College 69-54.

The Golden Tigers (13-8, 13-6 SIAC) are tied with Clark Atlanta for the conference lead. The Golden Tigers have already played each other twice, with each winning on its home court. Each has five games remaining.

“We’re in good shape,’’ Coach Leon Douglas says. “The guys are committed to running the table. If we can manage that, we will win (the regular season) championship.  They started back playing like they’re capable of playing against Paine. They had been up and down. That was the best game that we played on the road trip. We were just getting by with the others. We’re good for the stretch run.’’

The Golden Tigers (13-8, 13-6 SIAC) had to play extra time in their win against Claflin (7-14, 7-13 SIAC) for the second time in three games. They started the road trip with a 74-66 overtime win against Fort Valley State on Feb. 2. Javier McKinney’s tip-in of Joshua Eichelberger’s missed shot with 49 second left in the second overtime period provided the Golden Tigers with the win against Claflin.

The score was tied 57-all at the end of regulation. Claflin sent the game into overtime when Terrence Bowman scored on a layup with one second left on the clock. Bowman’s bucket came after Calvin Thomas split a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining to give the Golden Tigers a 57-55 lead.

Claflin led by three points, 67-64, with 39 seconds left in the first overtime. Thomas made a pair of free throws to pull the Golden Tigers within a point of the lead, and Derrick White scored on a tip-in with 10 seconds remaining to tie the score after Claflin’s Edward Green made one of two free throws.

Eichelberger forced another overtime when he blocked Marcus Jeffries’ jumper as time expired.

The Golden Tigers outscored Claflin 7-2 to start the second overtime and built a 75-70 lead with 2:56 remaining. Claflin tied the score at 75-all at the 1:35 mark. The Golden Tigers got three shots at the basket on their next possession before McKinney’s winning tip. McKinney led the Golden Tigers with 24 points off the bench. Thomas had 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Two nights later, the Golden Tigers, whose tallest starter is 6-5 Eichelberger, were no match for Benedict big man Marcus Goode. The 6-10 senior center punished the Golden Tigers inside, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

The Golden Tigers trailed 31-27 at the half. Benedict increased its lead to nine points early in the second half, and stretched it to 16, 73-57, with 5:18 remaining. The Golden Tigers trimmed their deficit to nine points on a couple of occasions, but Benedict (13-8, 12-7) SIAC) made nine of 14 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

Thomas led the Golden Tigers with 22 points; Derrick White added 20, and Eichelberger contributed 17.

The Golden Tigers were able to grind out a win against Paine (12-9, 11-8 SIAC) with a strong second-half effort. They held the Lions to 25% shooting (8-for-31) in the final 20 minutes after the teams played to a 32-all first half deadlock.

The Golden Tigers began the second half with a 16-4 run and built a 48-36 lead at the 15:44 mark. Paine came within eight points of the lead with 9:51 remaining, but the Golden Tigers regained a double-digit lead on Jorelle Inman’s tip-in with 8:20 left and maintained it for the final 5:31.

White and Eicheberger each had double-doubles for the Golden Tigers. White had 17 points and 16 rebounds, and Eichelberger had 13 points and 11 rebounds. Thomas added 15 points.

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