TSU's OVC Championship Hopes Dashed by Belmont, 82-73
Saturday, March 9, 2013
TSU's OVC Championship Hopes Dashed by Belmont, 82-73

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team's run at an OVC Championship ended Friday night with a 73-82 loss at the hands of Belmont.

Kellen Thornton paced TSU with his ninth double-double of the season, scoring a team-high 22 points and a game-high 12 boards.

Also recording a double-double was Patrick Miller who poured in 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting and 12 assists.

With his 12 dimes, Miller tied Kareem Gilbert's school-record for assists in a season with 191.

Senior Robert Covington had a solid game for TSU, dropping 16 points and securing six boards.

TSU outshot Belmont in the contest 47.5 percent to 45, but the Tigers committed 21 turnovers while the Bruins had just 11.

Both sides started the game hot from the floor as TSU canned four of its first six shots while the Bruins were 5-of-6. Even though Belmont made more field goals in the game's first few minutes, Covington and Jay Harris each had triples to put TSU up, 12-10.

TSU's defense tightened up after BU's hot start, forcing the Bruins to miss their next nine shots. That allowed the Tigers to go on a 9-0 run and race out to a 21-12 advantage with nine minutes left to go in the first half.

Slowly, Belmont began to trim into the Tiger's cushion and a freebie from BU's Kerron Johnson at the 2:37 mark polished off an 11-0 Belmont run and gave the Bruins a three-point lead. TSU had five of its 13 first-half turnovers during the drought to aid the BU cause.

Miller made a couple of free throws to close out the first half, but TSU trailed, 29-32, heading into the break.

Tennessee State held the Bruins to a 0-for-10 line from deep during the game's opening period.

BU started the second stanza on a 6-0 run, forcing TSU head coach Travis Williams to call a timeout with only 1:50 off of the clock. Miller immediately made a three after the brief stoppage, but Belmont's Ian Clark answered with a triple of his own on the Bruins' next possession.

TSU made five of its next seven shots during the game's following six minutes, but Belmont scored four more threes during the time to make the score 59-50 in its favor with 12 minutes to play.

A coast-to-coast layup from Miller at the eight minute mark capped a 7-0 TSU run, and the Tigers suddenly found themselves down by just four. But, again, Clark knocked down a three and Belmont was back on top, 66-59.

Clark finished the game with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He was also 6-for-10 on three-point attempts.

The sides played it close for the remainder of the game and TSU had a chance to make it a one-possession game when Miller stole the ball with a minute to go. He passed it up ahead to Thornton who tried to bait his defender into a three-point play, but Thornton missed the layup and he didn't get the call, either.

The Tigers were forced to foul the Bruins for the remainder of the contest, and Belmont made 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch to ice the game.

TSU shot 83.3 percent from the charity stripe, but only had six attempts. Belmont made 21-of-30 freebies for a 70 percent clip.

Tennessee State will wait approximately one-and-a-half weeks to see if it will be playing in a postseason tournament.

--TSU Tigers--