But whatever inner anguish this caused the occupants of row J was drowned out by triumphant jubilation as the Tigers did walk away with a 14 point victory over Furman on Saturday.
Saturday’s game was the second win in a stretch of four home games that followed the ten-day holiday hiatus.
Game three will be played on Tuesday against Tennessee Tech at 7 p.m.
Head coach Tony Barbee mentioned the rust seen in last Tuesday’s game against Grambling State seemed to have worn off by Saturday; even though that game ended with a 94 – 42 victory.
On the outset Furman put up a fight and took an early lead, but they were no match for the Tigers’ shooting game as the first half came to a close with a 15 point lead at 35 – 20.
In the second half of the game Furman came back and ended with a one point lead at 30 – 20.
Even though the Tigers emerged victorious, Barbee was already focused on areas of improvement, as he said in a post-game interview: “Leave it up to a coach to win by 14 and not be happy with something.”
“We’ve got to mature as a team. We’ve got to mature. We’ve got to get better. I thought we came out with really good defensive energy. I didn’t think we were very sharp offensively to start the game,” he said.
He continued: “But defensively we were really, really, good; [we] held them at 20 percent shooting in the first half. I thought we guarded the three-point line which was our main focus with this team. In the last game they had 15 made three’s, today they only had five. They are a team that can really, really, shoot the ball, so we wanted to concentrate on guarding that three-point line.”
As for the admittedly less well-played second half he said: “… I thought we got content with the 15 point lead at half time and that’s how we came out and played.”
One of the staples of Saturday’s success was a powerful three-pointer game, with a total 8 – 17 made.
Freshman guard Jordan Price left with a 4 - 4 record in three’s for the game.
Another factor was the returning junior guard Chris Denson, who was playing his second game with the team this season, and came away with a 17-point season high.
When Denson was asked how he felt watching his team during its first games of the season, which resulted in four wins and just as many losses, he replied: “It hurt, just seeing my team just struggle. I felt I could have did so much to help them. That really hurt. So when I get those plays like that, you see me show so much emotion and just yell, because you know I’m just so happy to be out there.”
When asked about his optimism for the rest of the season after this week’s winning streak, he said: “Coach Barbee always says losing and winning is contagious, so we are trying our best to stay on that winning side.”