Jacksonville, Ala. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team extended its win streak to four games with a 66-57 comeback win over Jacksonville State on Saturday.
The victory pushes the Tigers' record to 9-7 overall and they lead the OVC's East Division with a perfect 3-0 mark.
It is the first time since the 1994-95 season that the Tigers started 3-0 in OVC play. TSU is also 13-2 in its last 15 conference games.
For the second game in a row, M.J. Rhett came up big for the Tigers, scoring ten points and grabbing a career-high 16 boards.
Patrick Miller led TSU in scoring for the third game in a row with 19 points on 3-of-9 shooting. Miller was also 12-of-16 from the line and tallied a game-high four assists.
Tennessee State came out of the gate strong, winning the tip and starting on an 8-0 run. Rhett had four points during the charge including a powerful two-handed alley-oop that added an exclamation mark to the end of the streak.
Jordan Cyphers provided the assist on Rhett's slam and then found Thornton on another lob at the 11:50 mark to give TSU a 14-8 advantage.
Thornton had a team-high eight points on four-of-seven shooting (57 percent) and seven boards at the break.
The Tigers clung to their lead for much of the first half until a 10-0 JSU run made the score 24-20 in favor of the Gamecocks. Jacksonville State ended the run by Darion Rackley converting a rare four-point play with just over three minutes to play in the opening stanza.
Cyphers narrowly missed a half-court heave as the first half horn expired, and TSU went into halftime trailing the Gamecocks 24-26.
All of TSU's nine first half field goals occurred inside the paint, allowing the Tigers an 18-8 advantage down low and a ten percent higher shooting percentage (38 to 28).
Tennessee State hit its first outside jump shot five minutes into the second half when Tashan Fredrick canned a three to tie the game at 34 apiece.
The score remained close for the better part of the half, but TSU eventually went up by five when Cyphers converted a layup with11:58 left in the game.
From there, JSU wound up putting TSU in the double bonus with more than eight minutes left in the game. The Tigers responded by nailing 10 free throws, which were the team's only points during the seven-minute stretch.
Thornton finally broke the charity stripe streak by slamming home a dunk with just over two minutes left in the game. His slam put the Tigers ahead for good at 60-53.
Thornton added another slam at the 24 second mark and TSU rallied to defeat the Gamecocks 66-57.
TSU held the Gamecocks to 17-of-52 shooting for just a 32.7 percent line. The Tigers also dominated JSU on the glass, winning the battle 47-28.
TSU will next come home to play UT Martin on Thursday, Jan. 10. The Tigers tip-off at 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on the OVC Digital Network.