Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team improved to 6-0 at home this season with an 80-48 win over UT Martin on Thursday night.
TSU (10-7, 4-0 OVC) was paced by Kellen Thornton who had a team-high 13 points and added seven rebounds.
Patrick Miller also had a strong game, scoring 12 points, dishing out three assists and securing four boards.
The Tigers also shot 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from downtown and 87 percent (20-of-23) from the line.
TSU fell behind, 7-12, in the game's first six minutes as UT Martin (4-13, 1-4 OVC) made six of the squad's first eight shots (75 percent). The Tigers also committed four turnovers during the stretch which further limited their offensive opportunities.
After the Skyhawks strong opening surge, TSU fought back with a 17-2 run that included a three-pointer by Jay Harris. The run made the score 24-14 in favor of the home team with eight minutes remaining in the first half.
The Tigers continued to roll and eventually stretched their lead to 22 when Jordan Gaither sunk a pair of free throws. The buckets allowed TSU to take a 46-24 lead going into the break.
Tennessee State made 14-of-26 during the opening stanza for a 53.8 shooting percentage, and held the Skyhawks to a 32.4 line (11-for-34). TSU also made 13 out of 15 free throws in the first half, and UT Martin only got to the line once.
UT Martin started the second half on a 10-4 run before TSU head coach Travis Williams called a timeout to stop the flow of Skyhawk points.
Williams's pep-talk worked as Gaither sunk a layup immediately following the stoppage and Cyphers drained a three on TSU's next possession. The flurry was part of a 10-2 run that culminated in a Miller jumper from outside the arc.
The Tigers maintained their 20-plus points lead for the remainder of the contest thanks to a suffocating defensive effort that forced 16 turnovers and only allowed an 8.3 three-point percentage (1-of-12).
TSU was able to rest some of its starters for the last eight minutes of the game, and the squad actually raised the lead to 32 before the final horn sounded and the Tigers walked away with an 80-48 victory.
Eleven Tigers scored in the contest and TSU's bench outscored UT Martin's 36-8.
TSU will defend its spotless OVC record on Saturday when the team takes on Southeast Missouri at 7 p.m.
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