Charleston, Ill. - Freshmen Jacquan Nobles and Robert Covington led all scorers but it was not enough. The Tennessee State University Tigers closed out the regular season with a, 66-61, OVC loss to Eastern Illinois in Lantz Arena on Saturday night (2/27).
Nobles posted a game-high 19 points from 7-of-14 shooting including 5-of-9 from the outside. Covington notched 18 points with eight rebounds hitting 6-of-13 and 3-of-6 from long range. Lonnie Funderburke pulled in a team-high nine boards.
The Tigers (9-22, 6-12 OVC) shot 39 percent overall but 46 percent shooting from three-point range kept them in the game during the closing minutes.
With a 20-20 score in the first-half, EIU used a 10-4 run to lead at the break, 30-24.
In the second half, EIU opened up with a 9-2 run. TSU answered with pressure defense and a 15-2 run to knot the score at 41-41 (12:58).
TSU led at the 9:44 mark, 50-48, but EIU would take the advantage and increase the lead 60-53 (2:44). The Tigers tied it up on a 7-1 run for a dead even lock at 61 with 1:32 remaining. However, TSU missed an opportunity to tie or take the lead committing a turnover with less than a minute to play. EIU would seal the win with a pair of free throws by Jeremy Granger.
EIU (18-11, 11-7 OVC) shot 55 percent from long range, 52 percent from the floor including 59 percent in the second half. The Panthers outscored the Tigers in the paint, 36-6, to help tack on their seventh straight win.
Granger led EIU in scoring and was the only player to register double figures for the Panthers with 11. Tyler Laser and Jay Smith followed with nine points apiece.
The Tigers will remain the eighth seed and play No. 1 Murray State on March 2. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m. at the Regional Special Events Center.