Halftime React: Tigers Chop Through Weeds in Opening Half
Tennessee State Tigers, sans Tahj McCall, fought to a first-half lead in Cookeville, Tennessee Thursday night. The Tigers returned to their locker room up 36-19.
Armani Chaney sliced up the home defense with his sharp right-handed dribble. Whether he traveled all the way to the hole, or kicked to an open Ken’Darrius Hamilton, Chaney repeatedly netted points for the Tigers. Hamilton (12 pts) hit from deep consistently. The big forward loved the top of the key and floated unceremoniously there over and over.
Tennessee Tech brought an active defense to the party. Until they shifted into a 2-3 zone, the defense failed. Chaney’s quickness instantly eroded the facade. Upon the Golden Eagle collapse, multiple shooters slid into wonderful opportunities.
Tech’s defense improved when the 2-3 zone began at the six minute mark. The TSU bigs slowed as the half waned, perhaps accounting for fewer defensive stops and certainly less off-the-ball activity offensively.
Overall they did more than their share. Wayne Morgan hammered his way to seven points, four rebounds. He also kicked to an open Delano Spencer for a corner triple. It was one of six three-pointers (6-14) for the scrappy Tigers.
Chaney was the best player on the floor. His four assists and incessant penetration bothered the TTU team.
For TTU, the chances were poor. Worse they only got a single chance each trip. Together TTU mustered just one offensive rebound all half. Their veteran backcourt (Aleksa Jugovic, Kajon Mack) combined for 1-7 shooting.
To make the game interesting TTU must cut down on the turnovers (7) and figure out how to delay Chaney’s driving.