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Eagles Drop Double Overtime Heartbreaker to Tennessee State - The Trail Blazer: News

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Eagles Drop Double Overtime Heartbreaker to Tennessee State

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Posted: Friday, February 8, 2019 9:10 pm

MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Morehead State men's basketball Eagles fought tooth-and-nail with the Tennessee State ball club, but ultimately fell in the second overtime, 81-80, Thursday evening at Johnson Arena. Tonight's tilt saw 10 ties and 19 lead changes, with neither team leading by more than six throughout the duration of the contest.

With tonight's result, both teams are deadlocked at 5-6 in Ohio Valley Conference action. MSU drops to 9-15 overall, whereas TSU propels to 8-15.

"For it being our first time in this scenario, a double overtime game, I commended the fight and effort in our guys, for showing resiliency when our backs were against the wall," said head coach Preston Spradlin. "We weren't as consistent as we would have liked, but we were fortunate enough to put ourselves in a position to win at the end. Just wish the outcome could have been better."

Though the two squads went back and forth throughout the first half, the Eagles were able to control the tempo and get the looks they wanted, shooting 14-for-28 (.500) overall and 5-for-10 (.500) from behind the arc, compared to 48 and 30 percent, respectively for TSU. MSU took a two-point lead into the halftime intermission.

The second half saw a momentum shift in favor of the visitors, as the Tigers out-shot the Eagles 50 to 36 percent. From the start of the second stanza until the 11:29 stamp, the guests went on a scoring push, outperforming the home team 16-6 over that span. TSU led 54-48 at that juncture. Morehead State's deficit fluctuated until the closing minutes, shrinking their shortage to as few as three. However, they found themselves down eight with 1:23 to play.

Two free throws followed by a triple out of the corner from senior A.J. Hicks brought the score to 67-64 with 39 ticks remaining. Coming out of a timeout, junior Djimon Henson forced a turnover in the backcourt that gave the ball back to MSU with 32 seconds left. 

Hicks was sent to line, down two with 13 seconds left, and nailed both charity tosses to tie the game at 67. The Tigers did not get a shot off on the succeeding possession, forcing free basketball.

 The first overtime remained a one-possession tilt throughout the five minutes. Sophomore Malek Green's tip in off a missed jumper put the Eagles back ahead, 76-74, with 18 seconds left. The Tigers' Kamar McKnight answered back with a lay-in at the other end to tie it back up with 11 seconds to go. It was Green who once again got a great look at a layup at the horn but couldn't get the rock to roll, forcing a second extra period.

 The second-year forward from Cincinnati scored both of the Eagles' only buckets in the second overtime, with a dunk off a feed from Hicks bringing MSU to within one, 81-80. Out of the final timeout, a missed floater from Hicks went back into his own hands for a second attempt, which was then followed up by Green, and then James Baker, with the last-second volleyball drill not panning out the way the Eagles hoped it would.

Morehead State was led by Hicks, who posted a career-high 29 points, tabbing 4-for-7 from long range. Also logging a career high was sophomore Baker, who yanked down 11 rebounds to go along with seven points.

Junior Jordan Walker brought a much-needed offensive boost, pouring in 20 points of his own. Rounding out double-figure scorers for the Eagles was senior Lamontray Harris who chipped in 14 points on 6-of-10 (.600) shooting.

Morehead State will be back in action on Saturday for game two of its four-game homestand, taking on conference rival Belmont. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. ET at Johnson Arena.