Despite a second chance to win the game in overtime, the Gamecocks could not keep up with the offense of Tennessee State and fell 74-66.
It was a rough overtime period as the Gamecocks struggled to get anything together offensively. They went 1-of-9 in shooting despite perfection from free throw shots.
Candace Morton led the night in total points with 20, while Courtney Strain was right behind her with 10. Morton also led in free throws making 8-of-10. The Gamecocks were overall 13-of-19 for free throws on the night.
The game opened with TSU jumping out to a fast lead before a tie at 15:41 that put the score at an even four. It was then the Gamecocks’ chance to lead the game, which they did manage to even the score two more times.
A 3-pointer by TSU’s Jemilah Leonard at 6:56 put the Eagles in the lead with the score at 15-13. The lead that they gained by that shot was one that they would hold onto for the duration of the first half. They led by as many as eight twice in the final five minutes.
It was on a three-pointer by Strain with 3:01 left when the Gamecocks cut the Eagles’ lead to five and seemed to gain momentum. The Gamecocks fought hard and broke the Eagles down to only a two-point margin by the end of the half with the score sitting at 25-23 after Miranda Cantrell hit a layup with nine seconds left.
As the second half opened, it didn’t take long for the Gamecocks to tie the score at 25. It was the first of six ties in the second half. Before the second tie, the score bounced back and forth between the two teams always within one. The second tie brought the score to 28 before TSU went up by two. A layup by Cantrell brought the teams to their third tie at 30.
Less than a minute later it was tie number four at 32. This time Tennessee State would manage to pull away from their opponent and keep the score just out of their grasp for around three minutes. It was Tyler Phelion who helped the Gamecocks to their fifth tie at 41 with 11:17 left in the game.
It was JSU’s turn to pull away from TSU. The Gamecocks took their lead out all the way to the 2:02 mark when the Eagles hit a jumper to put them up by one. They couldn’t hold their lead and JSU would send it to overtime with a three-pointer at the buzzer by Morton.
Unfortunately the Gamecocks fell apart in overtime. After TSU went ahead, the Gamecocks were able to tie it once more before the Eagles took full control and never let it go. They would go on to win the game by eight.
The Gamecocks have one regular season game left after their win Monday against Eastern Kentucky. They will play Morehead State Feb. 28.