Rhett paced the Tigers on offense and defense posting his second straight double double, and fourth of the season, finishing with 11 points and a season’s best 14 boards. On the offensive end Rhett and tied a career high with seven offensive rebounds.
Defensively Rhett was just as dominant as he piled up three blocks which tied a season’s best.
For the 22nd consecutive game senior guard Patrick Miller totaled double figures in points with 17 on 5-for-10 shooting. The Chicago native also added five rebounds in the effort.
As a team the Tigers out rebounded the Bulldogs 46-31 and held an 18-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
Tennessee State (0-9) got off to a quick start connecting on its first two shots of the game. Chaed Wellian opened the game with a corner 3-pointer, followed by knifing layup from Jamonte Graham, giving TSU a 5-0 edge.
Alabama A&M (2-4) used an 11-2 run to take it’s first lead of the contest, 11-7, behind six points from Brandon Ellis and five from Jeremy Crutcher.
With A&M leading 14-9 TSU made its run. A Wellian layup followed by a Patrick Miller jumper pulled the Tigers within one, 14-13. The run didn’t end there as Jay Harris provided three consecutive points to put TSU on top 16-14.
The visitors battled back scoring 12 of the next 14 points to take its largest lead of the half, 26-18, after a Demarquelle Tabb layup. In the run the Bulldogs hit two 3-pointers and had Tabb picked up five points.
TSU tied the game at 26 after an 8-0 stretch for the home team that saw four different players tally points, including two M.J. Rhett free-throw to level the game.
The Bulldogs closed on a 6-2 run, including a buzzer-beater from Jeremy Crutcher to take a 32-28 lead into the locker rooms. Miller finished the half with seven points and three rebounds.
Out of the break the Bulldogs stretched the lead out to nine, 38-29, after a Tyler Davis layup.
A&M pushed its lead all the way to 10, 46-36, at 13:23 in the second. Kennedy Eubanks nailed a three on the next possession to trim the lead back down to single digits, 46-39.
A 3-pointer from Crutcher extended the A&M lead out to 14, 56-42, with 9:18 remaining in the game.
Tennessee State ripped off seven points in the next 1:23 to close within eight, 56-48. Jaleel Queary, Miller and Graham added two points each in the spurt for the Tigers.
With Alabama A&M leading 61-53 and 4:44 left on the clock the Tigers made their move. Big Blue rattled off 10 straight points capped by a Patrick Miller 3-pointer with 2:10 left on the clock to take its first lead of the half 63-61. In the stretch the Tigers scored five points from the free-throw line.
From there the clubs traded baskets to leave the game tied at 65 with just 52 seconds left on the clock. Tennessee State had the first crack at breaking the tie but a turnover gave A&M the ball with 37.5 seconds left. The Bulldogs drained the clock down to just five before Green Hill was fouled to head to the line. Hill hit the first free-throw to put the Bulldogs up one.
The Tigers rebounded Hill’s missed free-throw with just 5.5 seconds left on the clock. TSU used a timeout to draw up a last stitch effort to win the game. Out of the stoppage Miller raced down the court heaving a last second shot that just rimmed out giving A&M the narrow 66-65 win.
Alabama A&M had three players finish in double figures with Jeremy Crutcher leading the way with 19 points.
Tennessee State returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Philadelphia, Pa. to take on Drexel. Tip-off in the City of Brotherly Love is set for 3 p.m. CT.