Cleveland State welcomed Snead State to town on a blustery Tuesday afternoon at L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium for a non-conference affair that has become an annual rivalry and usually always has the feel of a down-to-the-wire heated conference battle.
Tuesday night was no different as the Cougars turned a halftime deficit into a hard-fought 10 point win, 83-73 over the Parsons, while the Lady Cougars built a huge first half lead and then weathered a furious comeback attempt in the second half to take a 79-63 win over the Lady Parsons.
The Cougars struggled mightily in the first half as they chased the Parsons and their Princeton offense all over the court. The Parsons jumped on top in the early going, 11-5 and held a slim lead the rest of the half.
Trailing by seven points, Stetson Moore canned a big three-pointer and Kahan Swift battled his way to an offensive rebound and putback at the buzzer to cut the Parson lead to only three points, 36-33 at the break.
An 11-0 run in the opening minutes of the second half seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for the Cougars as they took their first lead since the opening minute of the contest, 44-40 and would never trail again. Keevin Tyus knocked down seven big points in the paint during the run against the much taller Parsons.
The teams traded buckets over the next 10 minutes, but another Cougar run, this time a 10-2 burst, pushed the home team's lead to a 10 point spread with nine minutes to play.
The Parsons would not go quietly though as they got as close as six points, but Moore began to rain down three-point shots for the Cougars nailing a tri-fecta of treys in five trips down the floor to finish off the hard-fought win.
"We struggled with their Princeton offense in the first half and that was my fault, it takes a lot of preparation to play that offense," explained Cougar coach Lee Cigliano. "We made some adjustments at halftime and the guys came out and executed and were able to knock down some shots. I am very pleased with the win, because this is a very good team that we found a way to beat tonight."
Moore led the way for the Cougars (5-0) with 18 points including four 3's, Tyus finished with 16, Robert Brandon added 11 points and Kendrick Williams had nine. DeMarcus Threatt and Chad Watkins paced the Parsons with 17 points each.
LADY COUGARS 79 LADY PARSONS 63
The Lady Cougars came out of the locker room and set the nets on fire to start the game as they hit their guests with a 24-4 run to open the contest. Brandi Whitted and Aysia Grimsley nailed a three-pointer each in the early going while Jasmin Fuqua came off the bench and hit a pair of long range bombs later in the half.
Cleveland State continued their good shooting for most of the first half, shooting well over 50 percent and opening up an enormous 40-14 lead. The Lady Parsons finished the half with a flurry scoring seven of the last nine points to cut the lead to 42-21 at halftime.
The Lady Parsons picked up right where they left off as they started the second half with six straight points and followed that up moments later with a 16-5 run to slice the Cleveland State lead to single digits at 59-50 with just over six minutes to play.
Jamesha Mosley came up with a big offensive rebound and putback that helped the home right the ship as they slowly rebuilt their lead. A pair of layups from Mosley and another from Brittany Ramsey down the stretch helped the Lady Cougars maintain a double digit advantage while hitting 11 of 12 free throws to seal the win.
"The hot start was probably the key to the game," said Lady Cougar coach Dan Lumpkin. "Snead State is a very good team and they didn't let up. We knew they would come back and make a run and they did in the second half. We made some fundamental mistakes, but some how we weathered the storm and found a way to win."
"We got in a hurry on offense and let them get behind us and use their height advantage to get back into the game," the coach continued. "But overall, I am very pleased with the win, and we did enough down the stretch to hold on and get the win."
Mosley paced the Lady Cougars (4-1) with 20 points, Whitted added 15 points while Nataya Roller and Fuqua finished with nine each. Courtney Mckenzie led the Lady Parsons with 19 points, Monica Cooper added 16 while Larian Scott had 12.
Cleveland State will now turn their attention to two big Region VII Conference games as Jackson State will come to town on Friday night at 6 p.m. and Columbia State will follow on Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.