GALLATIN — For the second day in a row, the best the Cleveland State basketball teams could do is gain a split with Region VII Conference foe Volunteer State on a cold Saturday afternoon in Middle Tennessee.
After splitting two games with Motlow State on Friday night, the Lady Cougars made it two wins in two days, coming from behind to upset the Lady Pioneers by a score of 69-66. The Cougars on the other hand, lost their second game in two days as they saw a big second half lead slip through their fingers as they fell to the Pioneers, 83-76.
A 7-0 run by the Lady Cougars in the early going allowed the visitors to open up a 10-5 lead. Jamesha Mosley converted a trio of driving layups in the first half while Aysia Grimsley and Jara Gasper let fly with a shot each from downtown to help their team hold a slim lead for most of the opening 20 minutes.
The lead changed hands six times in the final minutes of the half as Tete Flowers poured in six straight points for the Lady Pioneers while the Lady Cougars hit 3-of-4 free tosses to take a one-point lead at the break, 31-30.
Volunteer State pounded the ball into the paint to start the second half and used a 12-4 run to take its largest lead of the night, 42-35. A big bucket from Whitney Thompson and a steal by Grimsley resulted in another quick layup, stopped the Volunteer run and got the Lady Cougars right back on track midway through the second half.
Moments later, Jasmin Fuqua nailed a long 3-pointer that spurred a 9-0 Lady Cougars run as they opened up their largest lead of the afternoon, 53-48, with just under six minutes to play.
Gasper then came up big in the clutch with a pair of bombs from behind the arc to help keep the Lady Cougars on top. Brittany Ramsey added a pair of tough buckets in the paint and Mosley did the same as the Lady Cougars finished strong to complete the big upset and get the win.
Mosley led the Lady Cougars (9-1, 5-1) with 17 points, Gasper and Grimsley were next with 14 and 13 respectively, while Ramsey added 11. Jenise Davis paced the Lady Pioneers (5-2, 4-1) with 20 points, Flowers finished with 16 and Shenequa Foster had 11.
“We did a good job defensively the whole day,” said Lady Cougars coach Dan Lumpkin. “We rotated several girls in and out on their best player, Davis. She still got her points, but we really did a good job of matching their physical style of play. They are so big and talented inside, but we played well. This was a total team effort today and we were able to pick up a big conference win on the road.”
“Last night (Friday) we couldn’t hit free throws, but today we hit 24-of-27, that’s just how it goes sometimes,” the coach continued. “It was so physical, and we hung in there and found a way to win. Jara hit a pair of big 3’s for us, Brittany and Jamesha played well down low — it was just a great team effort.”
PIONEERS 83, COUGARS 76
The Cougars and Pioneers traded buckets to start the men’s contest as the lead changed hands nine times in the opening minutes.
Travis Wildgoose came soaring through the air with the greatest of ease and slammed home an alley-oop pass from Kendrick Williams to give the Cougars a 20-19 advantage and spur a 10-2 run.
The Pioneers responded with a run of their own, but Wildgoose struck again with a pair of high-flying layups to give the visitors a seven-point lead.
Volunteer State then finished the half with an 11-2 run as Jamaal Brantley poured in nine of the 11 points, including a 3 just before the buzzer to erase the Cougar lead and take a 39-37 halftime lead.
Joe Prince and Brantley nailed a trey each for the Pioneers to open the second half and give the home team a 47-41 lead.
The Cougars then caught fire as they proceeded to go on a 17-2 run as Keevin Tyus claimed the paint as his own by pouring in eight points during the run for a 58-50 Cougar lead.
The Pioneers then got hot while the Cougars went ice cold at the same time, and went on a 26-4 run to finish the game and take the win.
Tyus paced the Cougars (6-3, 3-3) with 22 points, Wildgoose added 15 and Matt Whitmire finished with 13. Prince led the Pioneers (5-3, 3-2) with 24 points and Brantley had 20.
The Cougars will travel to Dallas, Ga., to take on Georgia Highlands on Tuesday, while both teams will travel to Snead State Dec. 3.