Tennessee State won the tip, and both teams got off a quick start shooting the ball. TSU nailed four of its first six shots-including two threes from Robert Covington- but Drexel was just a tad better at 5-for-7. The small difference in shooting percentage led to a small difference on the scoreboard, as the Tigers trailed 10-11 during the game's first six minutes.
Early in the game, the Tigers seemed content to feed the ball into the low-post on offense, and Thornton benefitted by racking up eight points on half of the Tigers' first 16 total shots.
Thornton ended the half with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Even with TSU's strong play in the post, the Dragons hung around by outrebounding Tennessee State 20-11 during the opening stanza.
With the score tied at 27, Deshawn Dockery nailed a jumper as the shot clock expired and Green added a fast-break two-handed dunk to give the Tigers and narrow four-point lead with 2:28 left to play in the period.
TSU executed an impressive display of the running the whole court when Drexel missed a shot with 51 seconds to play in the first half. Green started the break by getting a rebound. He then passed the ball off to Cyphers who found Thornton with a no-look pass. Thornton converted the layup, was fouled and made the ensuing free-throw to give TSU a 36-28 lead.
The Dragons had a tip-in on following possession, but the Tigers still led at the break, 36-30.
TSU had just two turnovers and the Tigers received 11 points from its bench during the game's first 20 minutes. Green (7) and Cyphers (4) accounted for all of Tennessee State's first half bench points.
Drexel started the second half on a 7-2 run, cutting the TSU lead to one and prompting the Tigers to burn their first timeout of the game.
Following the stoppage in play, Thornton canned an elbow jumper and drained a foul shot for an old-fashioned three-point play. The play put TSU up 41-37.
The Dragons came right back with a 7-0 run that was finally ended by a Covington jumper at the 12:20 mark.
Covington finished the game with 17 points, shooting 2-of-4 from three-point land. He also led the Tigers with seven boards.
The teams traded blows for the next eight minutes, with neither side gaining more than a one-possession lead. TSU finally broke the streak with four minutes to go in the game when Cyphers hit a layup and was fouled. He missed the shot at the charity stripe, but Green was there to clean up the miss to give the Tigers a 61-57 advantage.
Cyphers drained a three with 2:50 to go, and Covington threw down a dunk with a little over a minute to play, allowing TSU to hang on and vanquish the Dragons, 76-66.
TSU shot 50 percent (26-52) from the field and held the Dragons to just 38.8 percent (26-67).
Hear Cyphers's and Green's thoughts on the win below:
TSU will next play at Missouri on Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. Fans can watch the game at ESPN3.com.
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