TSU Drops Season Opener at Saint Louis
Saturday, November 12, 2011
TSU Drops Season Opener at Saint Louis

St. Louis, Mo. - A tough offensive night for Tennessee State coupled with a strong shooting performance by Saint Louis gave the Billikens a 71-37 season-opening victory over the Tigers at Chaifetz Arena on Friday evening.

Saint Louis (1-0) connected on 52 percent (25-of-48) of their shots from the floor. TSU (0-1) was held to just 29.8 percent shooting (14-of-47), the lowest for any Tennessee State team since the Tigers shot 27.6 percent at Colorado on Dec. 19, 2003.

Junior forward Robert Covington led the Tigers with a team-best nine points and four rebounds. He shot 40 percent from the floor, while picking up an assist and a steal.

In his debut at TSU, Jordan Cyphers was 2-for-5 from the floor, totaling eight points. Redshirt freshman M.J. Rhett pulled in a team-best six rebounds against SLU.

Senior Wil Peters had a team-best two steals and collected five points against the Billikens.

Rebounds were near-even, as Saint Louis edged the Tigers 29-to-28 in that category. Despite turning the ball over 22 times, the Tigers scored eight times on second-chance opportunities.

Saint Louis opened the game with a 14-1 lead, not allowing a Tigers field goal until Patrick Miller's trey at the 12:41 mark in the first half. The Billikens stretched out their lead to 17-4 forcing nine TSU turnovers in the first 10 minutes of action.

TSU connected on just three shots in the first 12 attempts for 25 percent, while SLU made their first 9-of-20 (45 percent).

SLU closed the half on an 8-2 run, taking a 29-12 lead into the locker room. The 12 point total was the lowest in a half for the Tigers since scoring 18 against Jacksonville State on Jan. 20, 2011.

In the first half, the Tigers shot just 19 percent (4-of-21) compared to a solid 44 percent (12-of-27) for the Billikens. Miller led the Tigers with four points, while Covington reeled in a team-best four boards.

Cyphers started the second half scoring for the Tigers with a triple to cut TSU's deficit to 35-15. However, Saint Louis continued the strong offensive play going on an 18-7 run to begin the second period.

The Billikens continued their strong offensive play, stretching their lead to 41 with 4:21 left in the game.

Saint Louis controlled the charity stripe, earning 18 opportunities at the line compared to just seven for the Big Blue. TSU was 5-of-7 for 71.4 percent during the game.

Friday's game was the lowest scoring performance for any TSU hoops team since 1970.

Tennessee State (0-1) concludes its two-game road swing with a visit to Western Kentucky University (0-1) on Monday, Nov. 14. The Hilltoppers dropped a 72-61 contest to St. Joseph's on Friday evening. Tip-off for Monday's contest is 7 p.m. at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.