HONOLULU, Hawai’i – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team concluded its Hawaiian road trip with a, 63-52, loss at the hands of Western Michigan on Monday.
Patrick Miller led the Tigers (0-3) in points for the third straight contest, pouring in 17 on 6-of-24 shooting. The senior also recorded season-highs with five assists and five rebounds.
M.J. Rhett had a solid game as well, finishing just shy of his second double-double of the year with 10 points and nine rebounds.
TSU received 17 points from its bench, but WMU won the battle in the painted area, 34-20.
The Broncos (2-1) started the game on a 7-0 run that was capped off by a long-distance three from David Brown. The Tigers were held without a field goal for the first 5:37, but M.J. Rhett emphatically ended that drought with a strong two-handed dunk that was assisted by Patrick Miller.
Rhett’s hoop cut the WMU lead to four, but another three from Brown at the 13:01 mark put the Broncos back up by seven.
The Tigers tried to make a charge later in the half when Jaleel Queary nailed two freebies and Kennedy Eubanks poured in a jumper with just over six minutes to play in the period. The hoops cut the WMU lead to 17-13, but Brown, again, proved to be a thorn in the Tigers’ side by nailing two buckets from in close.
Western Michigan closed the half on an 8-2 run that spanned four minutes to take a 31-21 lead into the locker room.
Four first half rebounds by Rhett helped TSU to an 18-16 advantage on the boards, but six turnovers and an 8-for-27 (30 percent) shooting line led to the double-digit first half deficit.
The Tigers’ shooting woes followed them into the second half, as they only hit two shots during the first seven minutes. Meanwhile, the Broncos raised their lead to 17 thanks to five points from Brown.
From that point, the Tigers went on a 12-0 run that was led by Miller who accounted for 10 of the points. The stretch pulled TSU within five at 42-37 with 10 minutes to go in the game.
Miller had just one point during the game’s opening 27 minutes.
The Broncos countered with eight straight points that kept the Tigers off of the board for nearly five minutes. Gerald Williams finally ended the spell with a pair of free throws-the first free throw attempts of the half for the Tigers- to make the score 50-39 with WMU on top.
TSU closed the gap quickly, as Miller converted a rare four-point play and true freshman Ugo Mmonu scored five straight points to make it a four-point game with two minutes to play.
Tennessee State just couldn’t quite find enough offense after that, and the Broncos scored the last seven points of the game to walk away with a 63-52 victory.
TSU was a hot 9-of-10 from the charity stripe, but WMU had double the attempts and made 17.
Tennessee State will make the long trip home and prepare for Saturday’s contest at Wichita State. Tipoff for that game is scheduled for noon.