Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers were able to gut out a, 56-47, conference win over Tennessee Martin at the Gentry Center on Saturday night.
TSU (11-12, 8-5 OVC) jumps back in the win column ending a three-game slide. For the second straight night, the Tigers ran into tough defense, shooting below their average. They hit 36 percent from the field including 29 percent from tree-point range.
However, they were able to pace their way behind Robert Covington's double-double and a 30-20 advantage in points delivered in the paint. The Tigers also won the battle on the boards, 41-32, which help lead to 19-second chance points.
Covington records his sixth season double-double, eighth career, finishing with game highs, 18 points and 13 rebounds. He shot 7-of-9 from the floor and connected all four free throws. He posted a double-double against UT Martin in their first meeting earlier this season.
The Tigers trailed by seven with a little under two minutes in the first half and were down, 27-23, at the break. They picked up the lead in the opening minutes of the second half scoring on a 5-0 run.
TSU extended their lead into the largest margin of the night, outscoring the Skyhawks, 20-9, with 6:36 remaining. With the score, 47-36, UTM scored seven unanswered points to crawl within contention, 47-43, at the 4:31 mark.
With 2:49 left, TSU held off the Skyhawks with a 9-4 advantage behind shots from Miller, Covington, and Peters' three free throws.
UTM (8-17, 3-10 OVC) also suffered shooting woes hitting 13 percent from behind the arc and 36 percent overall.
Mike Liabo's 11 points and seven rebounds led the Skyhawks. Terence Smith and Reuben Clayton each added nine points with Andres Irarrazabal posting a team-high, eight boards.
Next, TSU will play their third game in five days when they travel to Jacksonville State. The OVC match-up will take place on Monday, Feb. 7, with tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m.