Atlanta, Ga. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team (1-5) committed 26 turnovers en route to a 70-81 loss at the hands of the Monmouth Hawks.
"We had 26 turnovers against a non-pressing team in Monmouth," Head Coach Travis Williams said after the game. "We made bad decisions, and that was the difference in the game."
Monmouth had 31 points off of TSU's miscues and the Hawks used 30 points from its bench to improve to 3-3 on the year.
Tennessee State had a great game on the boards and Kellen Thornton had a historic personal performance.
Thornton finished the game with a career-high 27 points on 12 of 18 shooting and his 15 boards allowed the Tigers to crush the Hawks on the glass, 46-24.
"Thornton went out there today and did what he was capable of doing," Williams said. "We now have to evaluate our other options."
TSU's other options shot just 34 percent (14-41) and committed 23 turnovers.
Guard Patrick Miller was second on the team with 15 points and Robert Covington wasn't too far behind with 12. However, Covington made just three of his 14 field goals.
Tennessee State won the tip and Miller nailed a jumper at the 19:44 mark to give the Tigers an early advantage.
Jordan Cyphers canned TSU's only three-pointer of the half a couple minutes later to extend the Tigers' lead to three, 5-2.
A strong two-handed dunk by Thornton with 16:32 left in the frame made the score 9-4 in favor of TSU, but Monmouth would take over from there.
The Hawks had eight three-pointers in the last 15 minutes of the first half, starting with a break-away three by Jesse Steele. The breakaway was started on one of Tennessee State's 16 opening-period turnovers.
TSU had no answer for the Monmouth shooting barrage, and even Thornton's 12 first-half points and a 22-15 rebounding advantage could not save the squad.
The Tigers trailed the Hawks 31-38 at the break.
Monmouth finished the opening frame with a 47.1 (8-17) shooting percentage from behind the arc while TSU shot just 10 (1-10) percent.
"[The Hawks] had struggled, statistically, shooting from outside entering the game, but they got a little momentum and started knocking down shots," Williams said.
Monmouth came out hot to start the second half, making the first two baskets of the frame. This put TSU down, 31-42.
Tennessee State just could not mount a charge, as the team committed a foul or a turnover on seemingly every-other possession. TSU had 10 turnovers and 15 fouls in the second half alone.
Thornton continued to be a force during the second half, scoring 15 points down the stretch.
The one highlight for TSU during the second period was an impressive alley-oop by Covington with 8:49 left in the game. The play left jaws dropped, but Monmouth still led, 58-51.
A 6-0 Monmouth run down the final stretch of the game put the Hawks up 81-66 with only a minute to play. With Thornton sitting on the bench with five fouls, TSU lost its second game in a row, this one by 11 points.
Tennessee State will go for its second win of the season on Monday, Nov. 26 against Fisk. The match-up will mark TSU's first home contest of the season.
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