The Cleveland State basketball teams hit the road once again on Tuesday night for a pair of tough non-conference games at Snead State.
The Lady Cougars overcame a slow start to post their 8th straight win as they downed the Lady Parsons by a final count of 71-57. The Men broke their four game losing skid the hard way as they needed a miracle shot in regulation and an overtime period to finally defeat the Parsons by a score of 100-91.
The men's contest was a battle of wills as neither team would give an inch the entire night. In a game that was destined to require overtime, the stat sheet would tell why as the shooting percentages, rebounds, turnovers and the score were all nearly identical for the first 40 minutes.
Both teams sizzled the nets in the first half to the tune of 56 percent shooting from the floor. The Parsons jumped out to a 26-13 lead to start the game, but the Cougars slowly chipped away at the lead as they would eventually knot the game by halftime. The Parsons hit four more shots, but the Cougars knocked down 11 free tosses to even the score at 39-39 at the break.
The lead seesawed back and forth throughout the second half with the game sometimes resembling a heavyweight boxing match with both teams trading punch for punch.
Keevin Tyus tied the game for the Cougars with 16 seconds to go in regulation with a tough shot in the paint. The Parsons tried one last shot, missed but got an offensive rebound and putback with 1.6 seconds left to seemingly win the game.
Out of time outs, all the Cougars could hope for was a miracle as Stetson Moore heaved the ball the length of the court. Tyus, somehow snagged the pass and put up a shot all in one motion. As it rolled off the rim, Travis Wildgoose came flying through the lane and tipped the ball up and in at the buzzer. After a long referee conference, the shot was ruled good and overtime would be needed to decide a winner.
Moore canned his fourth trey of the day to put the Cougars on top in the extra period. The teams traded buckets for the next four minutes before the Cougars finally were able to force a Parsons miss and secure a rebound with 45 seconds to play.
Strong disagreement by the Parsons coaching staff over a foul call, led to two technicals and six Cougar free throws in the waning seconds as the visitors put the game on ice to earn the hard-fought victory.
"It was a badly needed win over a quality opponent, Snead State is without question, a much better team than their record indicates," stated Cougar coach Lee Cigliano. "We played hard, came from behind, took advantage of a little good luck and got a win. This game will really help us build our confidence and prepare for the tough conference games down the road."
Both teams finished with 33 rebounds and 11 turnovers. The Cougars hit 17 free tosses to 19 for the Parsons while Cleveland State shot 57 percent for the game to 54 percent for the Parsons.
Tyus led the way for the Cougars (7-4) with 27 points and six rebounds, Wildgoose added 20 points and eight boards, Moore had 14 points including four shots from downtown, Kendrick Williams chipped in with 13 points and eight assists and Robert Brandon had 11 points. DeMarcus Threatt paced the Parsons with 30 points, Nick Barnes added 12 and Jace Haggermaker and Jaylon Debardlabon had 10 apiece.
The Lady Cougars found the going rough in the first half as made buckets were few and far between for the visitors. The Lady Parsons used their powerful inside game to build a healthy nine point advantage, 30-21 by halftime.
The second half was a different story. The Lady Cougars came out with a renewed focus and quickly erased the halftime deficit with a 12-4 run and then took the lead for good moments later.
Jara Gasper led the second half charge as she poured in 14 of her 17 points in the final half, including a long three-pointer and nine free tosses. Katrice Harris tossed in eight points during the run on a variety of driving layups while Aysia Grimsley nailed a three ball of her own and Markiesha Campbell tossed in a pair of buckets in the paint to help the Lady Cougars (10-1)finish strong and take the win.
"We didn't play very well in the first half, lots of negative posessions and they (Snead State) played well," explained Lady Cougars coach Dan Lumpkin. "Second half was a different story as we really turned it around in a hurry. We took the lead in less than five minutes. We were more consistent on the offensive end in the last few minutes we had a lot of free throws and hit a good number of them to finish off the win. It was a big win, they are a good team and that is a tough place to play."
Gasper's 17 points led the way for Cleveland State, Harris added 12 points, Jamesha Mosley finished with 11 points, Nataya Roller chipped in with 10 and Grimsley had eight. Michelle Swopes paced the Lady Parsons with 12 points while Larrian Scott, Chelsea Smith and Monica Cooper had eight points each.
Cleveland State will now gear up for a big Region VII Conference showdown on Saturday afternoon as their arch rival, Chattanooga State rolls into town for a 2:00 o'clock matchup.