Eden Ewing and Justin Hopkins both recorded double-doubles as TSU pulled away with a late run for an 80-67 win over Mississippi Valley State at the Fertitta Center Saturday evening.
With the game moved to the University of Houston campus due to a power outage at TSU, both teams struggled shooting the ball from outside in the first half as both shot below 29 percent and made a combined five three-pointers on 32 attempts. TSU would turn to its inside game early to gain an early lead via a 9-0 run led by four points each from Chris Baldwin and Hopkins. Mississippi Valley State would claw back and draw within 15-12 with 11:56 left but Kevin Granger, Jr. came off the bench and sparked the Tigers with four points and four rebounds as the lead would grow to 12 (29-17) by the time he exited the game at the 7:02 mark.
The Tigers maintained a comfortable lead for most of the half but the Delta Devils countered with a 7-0 run over the final three minutes for a 34-29 deficit. Ewing would hit a pair of free throws with 53 seconds left to close out the scoring as TSU led 36-29 at the break.
MVSU opened the second half with a 6-0 run to pull within 36-35 but Bryson Etienne ended the drought with a three-pointer to spark a 7-0 run and a 43-35 advantage after Yahuza Rasas’ layup. Valley would get within 43-37 a minute later but TSU went back inside once again to pad its margin as they led 49-37 after a pair of layups from Ewing and Rasas. MVSU used a pair of three-pointers to get within six (49-43) once again but TSU would answer and pushed its lead back to double digits at 58-46 with 9:49 left. However, the Delta Devils wouldn’t go away as Torico Simmons put the team on his back and scored 11 points himself to pull within 63-61 as TSU went on a two-minute scoring drought with 5:04 remaining.
With the momentum squarely in Mississippi Valley’s favor, Tyrik Armstrong hit an NBA range three-pointer for a much-needed basket at the 4:51 mark to go ahead by five but Simmons answered again to stay within three points. TSU would miss its next two baskets and MVSU’s Caleb Hunter scored a driving layup to draw within 66-65.
The Tigers would up their lead to five thanks to free throws over the next 44 seconds but Valley stayed within one possession as Simmons hit a pair of free throws for a 70-67 TSU lead. The Tigers would finally break free of MVSU’s late charge as Ewing sparked the crowd with a pair of ally-oops for a 74-67 margin with 2:05 left. TSU would ultimately end the game on a 10-0 run to claim their sixth straight win over Mississippi Valley State.
Both Hopkins and Ewing had monster games as Hopkins led TSU with 18 points and 17 rebounds while Ewing grabbed 16 rebounds and scored 17 points.
The Tigers are back in action Monday night inside the H&PE Arena with a match-up against Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 7:30 p.m.