NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Daniel Kinchen's three-pointer with less than a second to play Thursday vaulted SIUE to an 85-84 win at Tennessee State.
With the Cougars trailing 84-82 and seven seconds left, Tyresse Williford brought the ball up the floor, with Kinchen trailing. Williford drove into the free throw line, before passing back to Kinchen for the game-winner.
The win was the first-ever for SIUE at Tennessee State and moved the Cougars to 5-10 in Ohio Valley Conference play. SIUE currently is tied with four other teams for the final two spots in the OVC Tournament. The Cougars are 9-18 overall.
"I told the guys before the game we had to find a way," SIUE Head Coach Jon Harris said. "This is a good basketball team and it is time for us to step up and realize what we're capable of doing and do it."
Tennessee State is 8-19 overall. The Tigers also are tied at 5-10.
The Tigers nearly pulled off a monumental comeback. The Cougars led by as many as 17 points in the first half and had a 47-33 lead at halftime. SIUE pushed its lead to as many as 15 in the second half, but TSU refused to go away.
The Tigers used a 9-0 run early in the second half to trim the Cougars lead from 51-36 to 51-45 with 16:43 to play. Tennessee State earned tied the score with 3:09 to play on a dunk by Emmanuel Egbuta.
Armani Chaney's three-pointer gave the Tigers their first lead at 81-80. Tripp Davis made it 82-80 with a free throw with 51 seconds to play.
Brandon Jackson tied the game at 82 with two free throws with 28 seconds left. Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey gave TSU the lead, 84-82, with two free throws with just seven seconds to play.
"They rallied in the second half," Harris said. "The difference was when they made a run, we responded. We showed great resolve mentally. Our guys never really got rattled and that's why we got out of here with a win."
Kinchen finished with a season-high 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He 4 for 5 from three-point range and connected on all four free throw attempts.
"Dan did some really good things," Harris said. "He was a senior for us tonight. This is not an easy place to play. It's a great atmosphere. He did a hell of a job."
Jackson matched Kinchen with 22 points. He was 8 for 15 shooting and 6 for 6 at the free throw line. Cameron Williams added 12 points. David McFarland scored nine points which moved him into the SIUE's top 50 in career scoring. He has 623 points and is no. 49 all-time in scoring.
Fitzpatrick-Dorsey led Tennessee State with 23 points. Stokley Chaffee Jr. kicked in a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
SIUE stays in Nashville for a Saturday evening game at first-place Belmont.
"This will give us some momentum," Harris added. "We battled through some adversity and we'll be ready to go on Saturday."