CSCC Sports Information Director
It was Sophomore Saturday at L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium as the Cleveland State basketball teams finished the home portion of their regular season with four weekend games.
The Lady Cougars made it a sweep for the weekend on the ladies’ side as they took care of the Southwest Tennessee Lady Saluqis, 88-72 after handing Dyersburg State a 64-60 defeat on Friday night.
The Cougars ran out of gas on Saturday as they fell to the 17th-ranked Saluqis by a final score of 89-68. The Cougars did manage a split on the weekend as they downed Dyersburg State on Friday night by a final tally of 67-62.
Katrice Harris hit a pair of short baseline jumpers to get the home team off and running on Saturday afternoon as both teams raced up and down the court the entire first half.
Jara Gasper nailed a trey, and Jamesha Mosley added a pair of driving layups for the Lady Cougars to give their team a lead each time as the lead changed hands 11 times throughout the first 20 minutes of play. The Lady Saluqis scored the final seven points of the half to grab a 41-38 halftime lead.
Mosley claimed the paint as her own in the second half as she scored eight of her team's first 10 points to give the Lady Cougars the lead once again. Two straight layups from Harris put the home team on top for good midway through the half as they went on an 11-4 run to take a 63-54 lead.
The Lady Cougars then steadily built their lead the rest of the way as Gasper hit another long range shot and Tre'Ketta Bonds added a pair of buckets in the paint to help their team sprint to the big win on Sophomore day.
"These were two big wins against two very good teams this weekend," stated Lady Cougars coach Dan Lumpkin. "Dyersburg beat us over there early in the year, so we knew that one would be close, and then Southwest today was a track meet, and I think we finally wore them down just enough in the second half to get a lead."
Mosley led the way for the Lady Cougars (18-7, 10-7) with 25 points, Grimsley finished with 24 points, Harris added 20 points and Gasper had 15. Tatiana Allen paced the Lady Saluqis (8-15, 7-10) with 23 points.
SALUQIS 89 COUGARS 68
The Cougars hit the 17th-ranked Saluqis with a 15-7 run to start the game as Keevin Tyus dominated the paint in the early going with three slicing layups, while Stetson Moore and Matt Whitmire connected from long range.
The Saluqis warmed a bit toward the end of the half as Chris Hawkins tossed in eight straight points to help the visitors to a 36-33 halftime lead.
The Saluqis flexed their considerable muscles in the paint in the second half as they widened their lead to an 11-point bulge at the 12-minute mark.
The Cougars would get as close as seven points down the stretch as Simon Cilfford converted a three-point play and Tyus added a pair of tough buckets in the paint, but the Saluqis put a halt to the run and zipped back out to a double digit advantage the rest of the way.
Tyus led the way for the Cougars (12-11, 7-10) with 24 points, while Robert Brandon added 10. Hawkins paced the Saluqis (21-3, 14,3) with 17 points, and Perrin Buford added 13. Kevonta Black and Rasheed Brooks had 10 apiece.
LADY COUGARS 64
LADY EAGLES 60
On Friday night, the ladies’ contest was destined to go down to the wire from the opening tip as the very evenly matched teams entered the game with identical, 8-7 records in conference play. In a seesaw battle the whole way in which the lead changed hands 19 times and seven times in the first five minutes, the Lady Cougars would finally open up a small lead midway through the first half with an 8-2 run for a 19-13 lead.
The Lady Eagles then went on a 13-8 run, but a three-point play in the final seconds of the half by Jamesha Mosley put the Lady Cougars on top 27-26 at halftime.
The lead again changed hands several times in the opening minutes of the second half. The Lady Cougars then opened their largest lead of the night with a 12-4 run for a 49-41 advantage.
A trey and a pair of free tosses from Kindra Brown with just under four minutes to play put the visitors on top again 57-55. Jara Gasper put the Lady Cougars back on top for good at the 1:40 mark with a clutch three-pointer and a three-point play by Aysia Grimsley extended the lead to four points with 40 ticks left.
Brown canned another 3 for Dyersburg State, but the Lady Cougars hit three of four free throws in the final seconds to finally finish off the determined flock of Lady Eagles.
Gasper and Mosley led the way for the Lady Cougars with 22 and 21 points respectively while Grimsley added 13. Brown paced the Lady Eagles (14-9, 8-8) with 16 points while Stephanie Tipler had 11 and Jalita Fason added 10.
COUGARS 67 EAGLES 62
The Cougars led by as much as 12 points midway through the first half, 24-12, but the Eagles went on a 14-2 run near the end of the half to erase the lead and briefly take a lead of their own. Matt Whitmire stopped the run for the Cougars with a long three-pointer and a short jumper to put the home on top at the break, 33-31.
Cleveland State hit a dry spell to start the second half as they were only able to convert one bucket for the first seven minutes of the period. Trailing 41-36, Marcellus Roberts gave the Cougars a lift with an acrobatic tip-in and helped the home team cut the lead to a single point, 45-44 with just under 10 minutes to play.
Another spurt by the Eagles pushed the lead to eight points, but the Cougars finally found the right gear for their offense as the home team stormed back to take the lead for good at the three minute mark on a spinning lay-in by Keevin Tyus. Dantario Dansby and Stetson Moore nailed a long range bomb each during the run as the Cougars finished the game with a 16-5 run to complete the comeback win.
Moore paced the Cougars with 18 points, Tyus added 11 points, Whitmire finished with 10 and Dansby and Roberts added eight each. Eddie Middlebrooks led the Eagles (6-16, 3-9) with 14 points, Jake Martin added 13 points and Eddie Green had 11.
Cleveland State will travel to Roane State on Thursday to finish the regular season and make up a pair of conference games that were snowed out earlier in the month.