Golden Tigers win two, drop one

1/31/2011

TUSKEGEE, Ala. –  The Golden Tigers’ hot shooting carried them to home victories against Kentucky State and Lane last week. But it was a different story when they went on the road to play Benedict.

The Golden Tigers, 9-6 overall and fourth in the SIAC with a 9-4 conference mark, shot 49% from the field in their 78-75 victory against Kentucky State on Jan. 25 and a season-best 57% as they beat Lane 79-58 on Jan. 27 for their eighth straight home victory. However, they cooled off against Benedict and lost to the Tigers 89-72 on Jan. 29 after shooting 49% or better in four their previous five games.

The Golden Tigers, playing at home for the first time in nearly three weeks, continued their recent hot shooting and held off Kentucky State after enjoying a double-digit halftime lead.

They never trailed in the contest, but the score was tied four times in the first six minutes before they took command. The Golden Tigers, who shot 51% from the field in the first half (17-for-33),  KO’d the Thorobreds with a 20-8 run in the final eight and a half minutes of the first half, a spurt that gave them a 40-25 lead going into the second stanza.

Andrae Nelson led the late first-half charge with six points, and Calvin Thomas contributed five.

The Golden Tigers extended their lead to 17 points, 51-34, with 15:38 remaining in the game. The Thorobreds (10-4 overall, 9-4 SIAC) hit the Golden Tigers with a 14-5 run in a span of four minute to get back into the game at 65-60. Kentucky State made it a one-point game, 76-75, when Tony Johnson made the first of two free throws with 16 seconds left. The Thorobreds got the offensive rebound when Johnson missed the second free throw, but they missed a jumper that would have given them the lead.

Nelson, who led the Golden Tigers with 22 points, made a pair of free throws with nine seconds on the clock for the final margin.

The Golden Tigers didn’t find their shooting eye until the second half in their victory against Lane. But when they did, the Dragons were in deep trouble after clinging to a 30-29 lead at the end of the first 20 minutes.

The Golden Tigers’ shooting 50% (13-for-26) in the second half almost doubled Lane’s point total. Aaron Ragsdale and Robert Davis scored 12 points apiece to pace the Golden Tigers second half blitz. Ragsdale finished the game with 16 points and 14 rebounds; Davis had 14 points. Thomas led the Golden Tigers with 21 points. Thomas almost single-handedly kept the Golden Tigers in striking distance in the first half with 13 while going 8-for-8 from the free throw line.

The Golden Tiger shot just 35% from the field in the first half (8-for-23), but that was good enough to keep them ahead most of the way. Lane went ahead for the first time, 23-22, with 5:49 left in the half. The score was tied twice before the Dragons went ahead by four points, 30-26, prior to Jeremy Williams converting one of two free throws and scoring on a layup in the final 46 seconds for the Golden Tigers.

The Golden Tigers got off to a strong start against Benedict. They led 11-1 in the first five minutes, but they weren’t able to sustain their initial thrust. Benedict went ahead 28-27 at the 5:32 mark. The Golden Tigers trailed 41-34 at the half. They regained the lead briefly in second half on a pair of free throws by Ragsdale that gave them a 48-47 advantage with 13:46 remaining in the game.

Benedict (11-5, 11-3 SIAC) outscored the Golden Tigers 20-10 in the final 4:06 to put the game away. Thomas led the Golden Tigers with 20 points, and Nelson had 18.

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