published Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Webb leads Tigers past Cougars

Chattanooga State's Fitzgerald White (5) steals the ball from Cleveland State's Jamarcus Comage (11) while teammate Keith Rawls (12) looks on.  Chattanooga State defeated Cleveland State 97-92 at the Cougar's gym.
Chattanooga State's Fitzgerald White (5) steals the ball from Cleveland State's Jamarcus Comage (11) while teammate Keith Rawls (12) looks on. Chattanooga State defeated Cleveland State 97-92 at the Cougar's gym.
Photo by Robin Rudd /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Chattanooga State coach Jay Price knew the Cleveland State men's basketball team presented some challenges offensively for his tall, lanky Tigers. But his team's size presented its share of problems for the Cougars.

Tre' Webb scored 26 points and the Tigers had a key 14-0 run in the second half on their way to a 97-92 TCCAA victory at L. Quentin Lane Gymnasium on Saturday.

Webb also had 13 rebounds, while Byron Trench chipped in 19 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (10-3, 5-2). Tyner graduate Travis Jones and former Red Bank star Nick Ross each had 24 points and Keith Johnson added 17 to lead the Cougars (6-5, 2-5).

Cleveland State coach Lee Cigliano said the Cougars ultimately just had no answer for Webb and Trench.

The game wasn't sealed until a pair of free throws by Dade County's Andrew Houts with 6.2 seconds remaining. Tyner graduate Keith Rawls hit six clutch free throws for the Tigers in the final minute.

"I knew that we'd have a chance if we could cover them," Cigliano said. "Chattanooga State has a lot of talent and depth, but I thought if we could cover those two, we'd have a chance to win."

The tide of the game, which had gone back and forth throughout, changed with 11:36 to go in the second half. Ross fouled Trench on a dunk attempt, but the foul was charged on Howard product Barry Griffin, who wasn't even at halfcourt at the time. The foul was his fourth, and even upon returning later in the half, Griffin was ineffective.

The Tigers started pounding the ball inside, and Griffin, who had six points and eight rebounds, fouled out with 7:12 remaining.

Cleveland High graduate Dominique Macon, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds, and Gerard Gore also fouled out for the Cougars.

"We are fortunate to have a couple of posts that can score," Price said. "We haven't installed our full offense yet, so we just wanted to make things simple -- throw the ball inside and see what would happen."

The Tigers jumped out to a 10-1 edge, but the Cougars fought back into the game behind Jones, who scored Cleveland State's first 11 points. His drive gave the Cougars a 13-12 lead, and the lead would change six times before halftime.

Price wasn't pleased with the Tigers' team defense and rebounding. Cleveland State had 22 offensive rebounds, eight by Gore, who totaled 11 rebounds.

"Cleveland State has guys that make it tough because they can put it on the floor," Price said. "We finally did a better job of crashing the boards, but it wasn't all the posts' fault. We forced longer shots, which resulted in longer rebounds, and those killed us. Our guards have to get in and grab some boards."

Telvin James finished with 11 points before fouling out for the Tigers.

"We had a chance to win late," Cigliano said. "You can't fault our effort."

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