Alabama A&M defeated Tennessee State 82-73 on Tuesday in the season opener for both teams.
Junior forward Jalen Johnson delivered a double-double with 17 points along with 12 rebounds and two assists. Junior guard Garrett Hicks finished with 16 points and four rebounds including being 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Junior center EJ Williams added 15 points and was 3-of-3 at the free-throw line and junior guard Cameron Tucker lead the Bulldogs in assists with eight and chipped in with 10 points.
The Bulldogs started strong, jumping out to a 13-4 lead within the first five minutes of play before the Tigers would respond with three consecutive treys with two being from Kassim Nicholson to close the gap to 17-15 at the 13:18 minute mark.
Alabama A&M would stretch the score with a 4-0 run that included Williams securing consecutive free throws and a jumper from Johnson to lead 21-15.
They would continue applying pressure on TSU and widen the gap with seven straight points from back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore guards Dailin Smith and Jevon Tatum alongside a layup from Johnson. The Bulldogs would then head to the break leading 40-34.
Alabama A&M would start the second half with a bang going on another 6-0 run to lead 48-42 with 15:50 showing on the clock. At that point, Tennessee State would respond with a 10-5 run to narrow the gap to one, 53-52 by the 13-minute mark.
The Tigers would flip the script and take the lead with a trey from Jalen Dupree followed by a 6-2 burst to lead 61-57. The Bulldogs would narrow the gap by one with a three-pointer from Hicks before AAMU outscored them 7-4 to once again take the lead 67-65 with 7:16 left on the clock.
With Alabama A&M leading 70-69 they would not look back unleashing a 12-0 surge that included five consecutive points from Williams and three from Tucker to push their advantage to 82-69.
The Tigers would score the final two points of the game but it would not dent the Bulldogs 82-73 victory.
Dedric Boyd led Tennessee State with 17 points and two rebounds while Marcus Fitzgerald Jr. finished 13 points and six rebounds. Nicholson finished with 10 points and 15 boards and Kenny Cooper had nine points and five assists with Carlos Marshall posting seven points and six rebounds.
Courtesy: Alabama A&M Athletics