Nashville, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team made a season-high 10 three-pointers en route to a 67-64 victory over USC-Upstate on Friday night.
Jordan Cyphers, after missing the team’s last game with a stomach virus, notched a season-high 22 points in the win and was four-of-seven from beyond the arc.
TSU forced 19 turnovers in the game and shot 47.8 percent from the field (22-of-46).
Tennessee State won the tip, but didn’t score a point for the first 3:20 of the game. Cyphers ended the drought with a three-pointer, but TSU still trailed the Spartans, 3-6.
Over the next four minutes, USC-Upstate had a pair of rim-rocking dunks, but two threes from Kellen Thornton tied the game for the first time at 11 each.
Thornton led all scorers during the opening stanza with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. He finished with 14 points and was five-of-thirteen from the field.
The teams traded blows for the better part of the half and the lead changed six times. Neither side was able to gain more than a one-possession advantage until the Spartans went up 29-25 with a layup off of a TSU inbound pass. The score would be the last of the period.
TSU forced 10 turnovers in the first half, but USC-Upstate outscored the Tigers 20-8 in the paint during the first 20 minutes.
The Spartans opened the second half on a 6-2 run, prompting TSU head coach Travis Williams to burn a timeout. The pep-talked worked, as the Tigers scored seven straight to pull within one at 34-35 with 15 minutes left in the game.
Tashan Fredrick led the charge with an assisted three-pointer and a floater inside the lane.
The Tigers still trailed by two at the 12:35 mark until Cyphers hit his third three of the game, and the second in the past two minutes, to take the lead at 42-41.
Again, the teams went back-and-forth until Pat Miller hit TSU’s eighth and ninth threes in quick succession to put the Tigers up 55-49 with 7:54 left in the game.
The Tigers kept the lead for the remainder of the contest and eventually went up by eight when Miller found Michael Green down low for an easy lay-in with two minutes left.
Miller finished the game with 12 points, six assists and a team-high five rebounds.
A buzzer-beater by the Spartans would have sent the game to overtime, but the shot went wide and TSU walked away with a 67-64 victory.
Tennessee State is off for eight days before hosting Eastern Illinois on Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
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