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Men's Basketball Ends CIC with Loss to Liberty
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Chicago, Ill. - The Tennessee State University Tigers missed a last second three-point shot to send a tug-of-war into overtime, dropping their final game of the Chicago Invitational Challenge to Liberty, 63-60, Saturday (11/28) afternoon at the UIC Pavilion.

TSU (1-5) shot 37 percent from the field overall and received 28 points from the reserves. From the free throw line, the Tigers shot a season high 83 percent and pulled in 32 rebounds.

Robert Covington shot 6-of-14 to lead the Tigers in scoring with 18 points while pulling in six rebounds with three blocks. Covington, a native of Bellwood, Ill. and graduate of Chicago's Proviso West HS, scored 11 points in the first half including six points during a crucial run to close the first half.

Josh Sain scored 11 points and Darius Cox pulled in a game-high eight rebounds. Lonnie Funderburke posted a career high, eight points, netting 2-of-2 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe.  Jeremiah Crutcher notched a team high five assists to add to six points scored on the day.

During the first half, the Tigers trailed by seven but used a 10-3 run at the 5:50 mark to even the game at the break, 26-26.

In the second half, TSU grabbed their first lead of the game on a jumper from Sain to go ahead, 28-26. The Tigers would then outscore the Flames, 22-16, notching their largest lead of the game with 7:30 left, 50-42.

TSU held the lead from the first possession of the second half up until Liberty's Kyle Ohman nailed a three-pointer, and the Flames took the advantage with 3:23 remaining, 53-52.

For the Flames (3-5), Ohman scored a game high 23 points connecting 13-of-16 from the charity stripe, 4-of-12 from the field and 2-of-5 from behind the arc. As a team, Liberty shot 42 percent from the floor including 18 percent from three point range.

Ohman mustered a team high, six boards, to help the Flames win the battle on the glass, 34-32. Chris Perez shot 4-of-5 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the line to add 12 points and Patrick Konan hit 4-of-8 from the field to chip in 11 points.

With 42 seconds left, TSU trailed 60-54.  Covington completed a three-point play at the line to narrow the score, 60-57. Liberty answered hitting 1-of-2 from the line after the Tigers committed a quick foul.

On the ensuing play, Crutcher hit a three pointer in the corner to give TSU hope with eight seconds on the clock, with the score, 61-60. The Flames hit a pair of free throws to go up, 63-60, but TSU could not answer as Sain's three-point attempt hit the front of the iron.

The Tigers finish the Chicago Invitational Challenge winning one of four games played.  Josh Sain averaged 15 points per game during the tournament to lead the Big Blue. As a team, TSU averaged 62 points per contest, allowing 70.8 points per game.  The Tigers shot 41 percent from the floor including 34 percent from three-point land. The Tigers out rebounded their opponents in the CIC, 34-33.

Next up, TSU will return home to Nashville, Tenn. to travel across town to face Belmont. The match-up is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 30, with tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Curb Event Center.