NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State men’s basketball team came up just shy in a defensive battle, falling to Tennessee Tech 57-53 on Thursday night.
Kennedy Eubanks led the Tigers with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting and tied a career-high with 10 rebounds.
M.J. Rhett recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 boards, and Patrick Miller recorded 13 points and six assists.
The Tigers outrebounded the Golden Eagles 34-32 and forced 17 turnovers, but their bench was bested, 24 to 11.
Rhett got the Tigers started offensively, scoring six of his team’s first nine points. On the other end of the floor, TSU forced four turnovers through the first six minutes, and posted an 11-5 lead.
The Golden Eagles responded with seven straight points to take the lead at the 11-minute mark. Jaleel Queary finally ended TSU’s scoring drought with a two-handed alley-oop off of a perfect pass from Eubanks, making the score 13-12 in favor of the home team.
Later in the opening stanza, the Tigers went on a 10-0 run that spanned 5:34 to extend their lead to 23-18. Miller had six points during the stretch and TSU held TTU to a 0-for-5 shooting line.
Eubanks ended the half with a dunk with 14 seconds to go in the half and the Tigers led 25-22 heading into the break.
TSU was outshot in the first half, 41 to 33 percent, but forced 10 turnovers on defense.
The Tigers drained three triples during the first eight minutes of the second half, but TTU canned four and the game was all-squared at 38. Rhett broke the tie with a powerful slam at the 11:15 mark, but the game remained close.
The back-and-forth game continued until TSU went cold from the field, allowing Golden Eagles to go on a 10-0 run that spanned over five minutes.
The Tigers were within three at 54-51 with 28 seconds to play, and Jay Harris came up with a steal and then was immediately fouled.
Harris missed both free throws and Tennessee Tech walked away with a 57-53 victory.
TSU was 2-for-7 from the charity stripe during the final minute of play and made just five of its last 15 freebies.
The Tigers made one field goal during the game’s final 8:18.
TSU will remain at home and host another conference game when the squad takes on Jacksonville State on Saturday, Jan. 4. Tip-off for that game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
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