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The Roane State Raiders led for the majority of Saturday’s TJCAA opener against Walters State, but the Senators closed the game on a 10-0 run to escape Harriman with an 80-74 victory.
Roane State led by as many as 14 points, 57-43, in the second half, but foul trouble would hurt the Raiders down the stretch. With 12:06 left to play, Walters State reached the double bonus and chipped away at Roane State’s lead by pounding the ball inside and making their way to the charity stripe.
For the game, the Senators shot 45 free throws compared to Roane State’s 21. In the second half, Walters State attempted 28 free throws with Roane State shooting just five. The Senators outscored the Raiders 28-15 on the evening at the charity stripe.
Roane State fell behind early on Saturday, but took their first lead of the game when C.J. Foster buried a three-pointer to give the Raiders a 20-17 lead. The Raiders lead grew to as many as nine points at 39-30 with 2:30 left in the half after Tres Palmer converted an old-fashioned three-point play followed by Cameron Porter burying a pair of free throws following a technical foul on the Senators.
Roane State eventually took a 41-36 lead into the locker room at halftime, but the Raiders quickly extended their lead to double digits and eventually would take a 57-43 lead.
Walters State, however, didn’t go away. The Senators used an 11-2 run to pull with 59-54 and the Senators would eventually tie the game when Dominique Harper banked in a three-pointer that made the score 66-66 with 4:35 left to play.
The score remained tied at 70-70 when Roane State’s Greg Murphy and Porter scored to make it 74-70 with 1:54 left to play, but the Raiders couldn’t hang on.
The Senators scored five straight points to make the score 75-74, then Roane State was forced to foul with 16.4 seconds after missing a jumper on offense.
Walters State made one of two from the charity stripe to take a 76-74 lead, but Roane State would never get off a shot to tie the game. A turnover led to the Senators icing the game with two free throws with six seconds left then Walters State added a late bucket to make the final score 80-74.
Porter led Roane State on the night with 21 points and five assists. Palmer (13 points, 7 rebounds), Foster (11 points) and Murphy (10 points, 6 rebounds) also scored in double figures for the Raiders.
Harper led the way for Walters State with 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Saturday’s victory was the 1,000th career win for Senators head coach Bill Carlyle.
Roane State (74) Porter 21, Harris 3, Palmer 13, Gates 6, Murphy 10, Drummond 8, Foster 11, Valiant 2.