The Tigers (8-6, 1-0 Ohio Valley) earned its' first conference opener victory since Dec. 7, 2006 after shooting a season-high 56 percent (32-of-57) from the field. Nine student-athletes scored five or more points.
TSU dished out 15 assists and out-manned the Skyhawks (3-12, 0-2 OVC) on the boards, 35-to-28.
Robert Covington led the Tigers with 17 points and five rebounds in 27 minutes of action. The junior forward scored his 1,000th point at 11:36 and finished the night with 1,009 career points. Covington is the first Tiger to reach the 1,000 points club since Gerald Robinson, Jr. in 2009. From the field, Covington was 7-of-10 and pulled in three defensive boards.
Coming off the bench, Patrick Miller tallied 13 points in 24 minutes. He grabbed three boards and dished out three assists and recorded two steals for the Tigers.
Bob Cousy award candidate Wil Peters was 4-of-6 from the field for 11 points. The Nashville product tied a season-high with seven assists in a game-high 33 minutes.
Junior Tashan Fredrick notched season highs in points (nine) and rebounds (five) in the victory.
For the third consecutive game, Jordan Cyphers added double-digits with 10 points, including two triples in 21 minutes.
Kellen Thornton had seven points and three boards. In his first game since Nov. 25, Kenny Moore racked up six points and three rebounds. M.J. Rhett had a solid performance pulling in eight rebounds and scoring five points. Sophomore Michael Green finished the contest with five points in eight minutes.
Tennessee State closed out the first half on a 15-to-4 run, taking a 41-35 lead at the mid-way point.
From the field, TSU shot 45 percent (14-of-31), holding UTM to 41 percent (14-of-34). The Tigers out-rebounded UTM, 22-19. At the break, Miller had 10 points for TSU as UT Martin's Troy King had nine.
The game started out back and forth, but UTM opened on a 10-4 run to take a 21-14 lead at the 11:30 mark in the first half.
King's basket stretched the Skyhawks lead to eight. TSU's Miller drove through the lane to cut the Tigers' deficit to 31-26. Kenny Moore followed up with a basket inside the paint, narrowing UT Martin's margin to three.
Peters managed two freebies to tie the contest, 31-31, at 4:17. The two teams went back-and-forth as Fredrick used a put-back to give TSU the 37-34 lead.
Cyphers hit a fade-away jumper in the final minute to give the Tigers the 41-35 advantage into locker room.
TSU opened up to a solid nine point advantage in the second half. UT Martin cut the advantage to 55-50 midway through the period.
Covington hit a jumper at 11:36 to score his 1,000th career point and give TSU the 57-50 lead. Mike Liabo drained a triple and added a layup to help UTM cut the lead within three with 7:40 left in the game.
Covington added a triple to stretch TSU's advantage to 67-61, giving him his 13th consecutive game of double-figures.
The Tigers started to pull away in the latter minutes of the game, closing the game with an 83-67 victory.
TSU returns to OVC action at Eastern Kentucky on Saturday, Dec. 21. Tip-off is slated for 1 p.m.
-- TSU TIGERS --