It was one up and one down for the Cleveland State basketball teams on a rainy Friday night in middle Tennessee at Motlow State. The Lady Cougars held off a hot shooting Lady Buck team to pick up the big Region VII Conference win by a score of 72-62 while the Cougars could not overcome a bad first half and dropped the nightcap to the Bucks by a final talley of 98-88.
The lead changed hands 13 times in the first half of the ladies contest as the Lady Bucks flexed their considerable size advantage in the paint while the Lady Cougars used their quickness to keep it close.
A 7-0 spurt by the Lady Cougars at the 10 minute mark gave the visitors a little breathing room, but the home team came right back with an 8-2 run of their own to tie the game once again at 25 at the five minute mark.
Another 8-0 run in the final minutes of the half put Motlow on top as Erin Thomas poured in seven straight points including a three-point play to help her team to a 36-32 halftime lead.
The Lady Cougars came out on a mission as they scored the first 12 points of the second half to take a 44-36 lead. Jamesha Mosley tossed in six straight points and Jara Gasper added a long three-pointer during the run.
The Lady Bucks would not go quietly though, as they mounted one last comeback at the six minute mark with an 11-2 run to cut the Cleveland State lead to two points, 56-54.
The run would end there as Mosley hit a pair of big buckets in the paint and Whitney Thompson added a three-point play as the visitors stretched their lead back to double digits. The Lady Cougars hit just enough free throws down the stretch as they finally finished off the Lady Bucks to take the 10 point win.
Mosley paced the Lady Cougars (8-1, 4-1) with 16 points, Katrice Harris added 13 points to the cause, Gasper finished with 10 and Aysia Grimsley had nine. Thomas led the Lady Bucks (0-7, 0-4) with 15 points, Sabrina Jackson had 12 and Lacy Gaines added 11.
The Lady Cougars had an off night at the free throw line as they hit only 16 of 34 shots from the line.
"We did not shoot the ball well in the first half at all," explained Lady Cougar coach Dan Lumpkin. "You have to give Motlow credit, because they played well, especially in the first half. They used their height advantage and it gave us problems."
"We did a good job of getting to the free throw line, but couldn't hit very many of them," the coach continued. "But we started the second half with a run and then held them off late to get a big win on the road."
BUCKS 98 COUGARS 88
The Cougars just couldn't quite get into their rhythm in the first half, thanks in part to the tremendous shooting by the Bucks. Stetson Moore hit a trey to tie the game at 7 in the early going and Kendrick Williams hit a long three-pointer to give the Cougars their only lead of the half at 19-18.
An 11-2 run by the Bucks would push the lead to double digits as the Cougars struggled to keep pace. A three-point play by Marcellus Roberts cut the lead to four points, but the Bucks zipped right back out to a big lead with 15-5 run to finish the half for a 53-39 halftime edge.
The Bucks threatened to run away and hide to start the second half as they continued to sizzle the nets and opened up a 19 point lead on two separate occasions.
Williams spurred a 10-2 Cougar run with a pair of 3's and followed that up with two more long range bombs as the lead slipped into single digits. William's fifth trey of the night cut the lead to only three points, 81-78, but the comeback would end there as the Bucks righted the ship and hit 10 free throws down the stretch to secure the win.
Williams paced the Cougars (6-2, 3-2) with 18 points, Keevin Tyus added 13 points, while Moore and Travis Wildgoose had 10 each. Kytrel Williams led all scorers for the Bucks (2-6, 2-2) with 28 points, Dequon Miller added 19 points and Kerby Lubin had 12.
Cleveland State traveled to Volunteer State on Saturday.