M.J. Rhett narrowly missed his third double-double in five games as the sophomore grabbed a game-high 10 boards and scored nine points.
Rhett’s work on the glass helped the Tigers to a 30-22 rebounding advantage during the contest.
JSU started the game on a 6-2 run, but the swing was promptly ended by an emphatic two-handed slam by Rhett at the 17-minute mark. Rhett flew by and over defenders to complete the play, got fouled and made the following free throw to put the Tigers down one.
Rhett finished the first period with five points (2-of-3), a half-high five rebounds and a block.
Another dunk, this one by Kellen Thornton, put TSU up by three with just over 13 minutes left in the half. Thornton’s bucket was the exclamation point on a 9-2 TSU run.
TSU maintained a small advantage for the better part of the first half and Thornton was again able to extend the Tigers’ lead with a coffin corner triple and a lay-in on the following possession. The second hoop put TSU up 23-17 with six minutes to go in the opening frame.
Thornton had a half-high 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting (66.7 percent) and grabbed two boards during the opening stanza.
Tennessee State got up by as many as 11 points during the first, and Jordan Cyphers poured in a three with just seconds remaining to send the Tigers into the locker room with a 33-22 advantage.
TSU ended the half on a 22-9 run and shot 55 percent (11-of-20) while holding the Gamecocks to a 36.4 line (8-of-22) during the first 20 minutes.
The Gamecocks started the second half off strong and took the lead, 43-42, with a 21-9 run that spanned over seven minutes. JSU only missed one of nine field goals during the stretch (88.8 percent).
TSU eventually regained the lead when Miller nailed a jumper at the 11:08 mark, and raised the score to 53-45 when Miller converted his second triple in as many trips down the floor.
Again, JSU came back and eventually pulled within one when Ronnie Boggs hit a three with three minutes to go.
Thornton answered with a triple of his own, but the score remained tight until Dockery canned his game-sealing three.
Miller drained one-of-two free throws and that would be all the Tigers needs, as they defeated the Gamecocks 66-60.
TSU shot 50 percent (22-of-44) for the game and 57.1 percent from downtown (8-of-14).
TSU will next play at Belmont, Saturday at 7 p.m. The winner of that contest will take sole possession of first place in the OVC East Division.
NOTE: head coach Travis Williams will appear on Steve Ulry’s 180 Show on 104.5 FM tomorrow at 12:50.
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