TSU would lead from start to finish as they set the tone early. They led 7-5 after a John Jones’ jumper with 14:50 remaining before turning up the heat on both ends as they outscored UTRGV 13-5 over the next 6:54 . TSU went 6-of-9 from the field while forcing seven turnovers defensively as the lead grew to 18-10 after Justin Hopkins’ trey.
The Tigers shut the paint down defensively led by Gresham’s seven blocks in the half as UTRGV was left to generate offense from the perimeter. On the opposite end, TSU pretty much had its way inside and outside as they upped the lead to double digits with 4:55 left. UTRGV drew to within seven on two occasions down the stretch but TSU managed to regain a double-digit lead at the half as they led 32-21.
TSU enjoyed a double-digit lead early in the second half but UTRGV began to settle into an offensive rhythm and went 8-from-11 from the field over the next 7:16. UTRGV outscored TSU 20-10 as they were able to get within six on several occasions. Holding a 54-48 lead, Yahuza Rasas scored four of the next six points for TSU as they pushed its lead to 60-51 with 6:10 left. TSU would outscore UTRGV 6-2 from that point and regain control of the contest as they kept a double-digit lead over the final 4:15.
Gresham had a memorable night with career-best performances in points (18), rebounds (12) and blocks (7). John Jones added a season-high 15 points while Justin Hopkins scored 12 points.
TSU is back in action on Saturday at the University of Cincinnati for an 11 a.m. tip-off.