NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State tried to come all the way back after a cold first half shooting put the Tigers in a hole, but the effort came up short in a 67-57 loss to visiting Middle Tennessee New Year's Eve afternoon in the Gentry Center.
The Tigers shot a dismal 17 percent (5-29) in the first half as MTSU was able to double the Tigers 32-16 heading into the locker room. The Tigers slowly began fighting back and were within one point at 53-52 at the 4:512 mark of the second half.
However, the Tigers would make just one field goal the rest of the way, a 3-pointer by Wayne Arnold as the Blue Raiders ended the game on a 14-5 run to take the 10-point victory.
"We have to learn that as a basketball team, that when the shots are not falling, you have to make up for it on the defensive end," said TSU Coach Cy Alexander. "I was proud that we came back, but it was a big early hole for us."
The Tigers came back to shoot 45 percent in the second half (14-31) and finish at 32 percent for the game, a season-low in their second home contest. The Tigers shot 33 percent in their only other home game, a win over Fisk to start the season.
Larry Turner, the Oklahoma transfer playing his first home game, led TSU with 13 points. Clarence Matthews scored 12 and tied Turner with a game-high seven rebounds. Arnold finished the game with 12 points.
Middle Tennessee (7-4) placed four players in double figures. Fats Cuyler led the way with 16 points, followed by Marcus Morrison with 15. Kyle Young tallied 12 on 6-of-7 field goals shooting.
TSU (2-6) will return to Ohio Valley Conference play Monday night with a home game against Morehead State.