HONOLULU, Hawai’i – Patrick Miller had a career-high 30 points, but the Tennessee State men’s basketball team fell to New Mexico State, 70-55, in Saturday’s matinee of the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.
Miller made 12 of his 22 attempts (55 percent) had four assists and added a pair of rebounds for TSU (0-2).
The Tigers forced a season-high 17 turnovers, but were beat on the boards, 41 to 23. Rhett had the most rebounds for TSU with four.
Miller was the Tigers’ main offensive weapon during the early stages of the game, scoring 10 of his team’s first 12 points. Despite the senior’s effort, TSU still trailed, 15-12, as NMSU shot 55 percent during the first eight minutes.
From that point, the Aggies (1-1) went on a 12-2 run that put TSU behind, 29-14. Miller finally halted the slide with a pair of lay-ins and two free throws to pull his team within nine with 5:26 left in the first half.
Michael Green hit TSU’s first three-pointer of the game at the 4:13 mark and Miller added a hoop in transition to make the score, 31-29, in favor of NMSU.
The Aggies answered the TSU rally with a 7-0 run, but Kennedy Eubanks canned his first three-pointer of his TSU career with 29 seconds remaining in the period to pull the Tigers within six at 38-32 heading into the break.
Miller scored 20 of TSU’s 32 first half points on 8-of-9 shooting. The point guard also had two of his team’s five assists.
The Tigers forced 11 turnovers in half one and had a much better shot selection compared to last night’s contest. TSU was 13-of-28 (46 percent) from the floor and canned two of its five three-point attempts (40 percent).
Things were different in the second half as Tennessee State made just one field goal during the first seven minutes, letting NMSU get up by as many as 12 at 49-37.
Miller ended the drought with a fast-break layup at the 12:56 mark, sparking a 13-5 TSU run to put the Tigers behind by just four, 54-50.
The two-basket margin proved to be the closest that the Tigers would get, as NMSU rattled off 13 straight points, four of which came on slam dunks.
Miller drained TSU’s only three of the half to reach the 30-point plateau with 37 seconds left, but the Tigers dropped their second straight game by double-digits, 70-55.
Tennessee State will take a day off tomorrow, and try to salvage one game of the Hawaiian leg when the team takes on Western Michigan on Monday at 2 p.m. island time.
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