NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior Mike Rose scored 31 points for the Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball team, but it wasn’t enough as host Tennessee State held off the Colonels, 69-63, Saturday night in the Gentry Center. The Tigers improve to 4-9 overall and 2-1 in the OVC while the Colonels fall to 7-6 and 1-2.
Rose, who finished two points shy of his career high, also tallied a team-high five rebounds. The senior guard netted 5-of-10 three-pointers, including four trifectas in the second half. Meanwhile, junior Josh Taylor registered 15 points, marking the third time in the last four games he has reached double digits scoring.
For Tennessee State, Parker Smith came off the bench to record a personal-high 26 points. Jerrell Houston chipped in with 18 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
Eastern Kentucky was up early, 13-7, on a Rose three-pointer before Smith heated up for the Tigers. Smith scored 18 points in the first half, including 13 straight TSU points during one stretch. Tennessee State shot 50 percent (12-of-24) and outrebounded the Colonels by 15, 23-8, in the first half to take a slim 33-29 lead into halftime.
Tennessee State stretched its lead to nine points, 38-29, before EKU rattled off 10 consecutive points, capped by back-to-back Rose three-pointers, to regain the advantage, 39-38.
The two teams battled back-and-forth over the next 10 minutes with Eastern holding its last lead with 4:36 left thanks to two Mike Lewis free throws to make the score, 54-53.
After Smith hit his sixth three-pointer to put TSU back on top, 56-54, Houston took control of the game down the stretch. Tennessee State’s senior forward scored on five consecutive possessions, highlighted by a dunk with 32 seconds left to clinch the victory for the Tigers.
The Colonels are right back in action on Monday, Jan. 5 at defending OVC champion Austin Peay. Game time is set for 8:30 p.m.