NORMAL, Ill. – Senior Patrick Miller recorded his 24th straight double figure game in a hard fought loss at Illinois State.
Miller finished with 13 points, six rebounds and six assists in the defeat. Kennedy Eubanks, joined Miller in double figures tallying 11 points and a team high nine rebounds.
Defensively the Tigers held the Redbirds to their second lowest scoring performance of the year (64), dating back to their opener on Nov. 9 at VCU, a 96-58 loss. TSU also won the battle on the boards, out rebounding the Redbirds, 44-39.
Illinois State (6-5) raced out to a 10-4 lead with 15:04 on the clock in the first half. To start the game, the Redbirds went 4-of-7 from the floor, shooting 57.1 percent.
Tennessee State (1-11) battled back into the game trimming the home team’s lead down to just four, 13-9, after a senior Chaed Wellian 3-pointer. Tennessee State followed Wellian’s three ball with a triple from junior Jay Harris put the Redbirds lead at just one point, 13-12. During the six point swing the Tigers held ISU scoreless for nearly four minutes.
Leading 15-14, Illinois State used a 9-0 run to put its lead out to double digits, 24-14. Tennessee State battled back to close the frame, using an 8-4 run to trim the lead down to six, 28-22, giving the Tigers all the momentum into the locker room.
At the break Wellian had a game high seven points. Senior Patrick Miller was held to two points, but added three rebounds and three assists to push the Tigers. As a team, the Tigers shot 31.0 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from 3-point land and 33.3 percent from the line.
Both teams got off to slow starts to begin the second stanza, with the Redbirds lead hovering at six points.
Illinois State made the first run of the second half, using a quick 5-0 spurt to extend its lead to double-digits, 38-27, with 11:58 on the clock.
During the run the Tigers were held scoreless for nearly five minutes of game time. Miller ended the streak with an and-1 basket to bring the Tigers within eight, 38-30.
Miller’s basket ignited the Big Blue attack, as they closed the home team’s lead down to three, 41-38, after a 6-0 run capped by a layup from junior Kennedy Eubanks.
The Redbirds Bobby Hunter nailed a corner 3-pointer to push the ISU lead out to six, at 46-40, with 4:11 on the game clock. Hunter’s three sparked a 7-0 push from Illinois State increasing the home team’s lead to 10, 50-40.
Tennessee State clawed its way back in the game, closing within five, 61-56, after a Jacquan Nobles 3-pointer with 14 seconds on the clock.
The Redbirds closed the game away at the line, taking the contest 64-58.
Illinois State had three players finish in double figures, with Daishon Knight leading the way with 16 points.
TSU returns home to the Gentry Center on Saturday to take on Miami (OH), tip-off for that contest is slated for 4 p.m.