Second-half run pushes Golden Tigers ahead of Morehouse
In a game that was never really in doubt, the Tuskegee Golden Tigers earned a 77-66 victory over the Morehouse Maroon Tigers in a nationally televised game inside the friendly confines of the Daniel 'Chappie' James Center early Saturday morning. With the exception of Morehouse's first made basket, Tuskegee led the entire game to kick off conference play with a 1-0 start (4-6 overall) in the win, which was simulcast on both the CBS Sports Network and NCAA.com.
Javier McKinney gets into the lane to score two
of his team-high 22 points for the Golden Tigers,
as they defeated Morehouse in a nationally
televised 77-66 victory Saturday morning on
the CBS Sports Network. (Photo by Robin Mardis)
An 11-point halftime lead was stretched out to as many as 26 points, and Tuskegee earned the first win over their cross-state rival in five tries. The last time Tuskegee defeated Morehouse was also the last time the Maroon Tigers visited the James Center two seasons ago, when TU picked up a 69-60 victory on Jan. 21, 2012. Morehouse had won three in a row, with all of those games being played at the Frank Forbes Arena in Atlanta.
Coach Leon Douglas said he wasn't satisfied, even though his team was up comfortably going into halftime. He hinted at halftime adjustments that quickly became prevalent in an interview before the start of the second half.
"I'm not exactly happy, because we're not doing a good job of rebounding," Douglas said of the halftime lead. "You see, rebounding is a key to controlling tempo. We have to do a better job of rebounding and getting the ball out to our guards, so that we can create a faster pace. Our strength is our quickness and our uptempo style. Now, I'm not upset, because we're leading. But, I would like a more comfortable lead."
Douglas would get his wish of a bigger lead, which ultimately ended the game. The Golden Tigers outrebounded Morehouse 42-34 for the contest, as the home team was able to stretch the lead out on the strength of a 17-4 run during the first 5:30 of game time after intermission. This gave TU their second-largest lead of the day, at 52-28 with 14:34 remaining.
Javier McKinney led TU with 22 points and a couple of highlight dunks, including a two-handed, staple-punching alley-oop from Kevin May that served as the nail in the coffin. This put the Golden Tigers back up by double-digits with 52.1 seconds remaining. Just moments earlier, Morehouse had cut Tuskegee's massive lead down to just seven with less than two minutes remaining. May also had a solid game across the board, as he finished with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Morehouse was able to keep the game competitive in spots, especially late in the contest. But, they never posed a significant threat for the Golden Tigers, even though Darrius Williams made his season debut for the visitors. Williams, the SIAC's leading scorer from last season, finished with the game's only double-double, as he had 14 points and 11 rebounds. He was one of four Maroon Tigers to score in double digits, as David Buchannon had a game-high 26 points. But, both efforts were not enough, as Morehouse shot just over 40 percent for the game, and 34 percent in the first half. By comparison, Tuskegee shot almost 47 percent from the field, and was buyoed by a second half in which the home team shot almost 52 percent.
Both Tuskegee basketball teams will be back in action Monday afternoon, and the times for both games have been moved up to avoid conflict with the BCS National Championship that will be played later that evening. The Tuskegee Tigerettes will take the floor at the James Center, with a 2:00 p.m. tipoff against the Lady Rams of Albany State University. Coach Douglas' squad will look for consecutive wins to kick off 2014 in a 4:00 p.m. matchup against ASU.
By: Michael Stewart, Sports Information Director, Tuskegee University