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Tigers Surge Back to Claw Central Michigan, 65-57
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Tigers Surge Back to Claw Central Michigan, 65-57

Nashville, Tenn. - A 39-point second half helped propel Tennessee State past Central Michigan, 65-57, on Saturday afternoon at the Gentry Center.

The Tigers (4-6) surged back to shoot 42 percent (12-of-29) in the second half. Overall, the Tigers made 22-of-55 baskets from the field for 40 percent. The Tigers forced 19 CMU turnovers and dished out 11 assists in the victory.

CMU (4-4) led by as many as 13 in the first half, before TSU answered with eight points to cut the deficit to two at the break. The Tigers then opened up to an 18-point advantage at the 14:15 mark, staving off a late Chippewas comeback.

For the game, Central Michigan shot 39 percent (23-of-59) from the field and narrowly out-rebounded the Tigers 40-to-37.

Robert Covington inked his 50th career double-digit game, scoring a game-high 19 points and grabbing eight rebounds. He shot 64 percent (7-of-11) from the field. The junior from Bellwood, Ill., dished out two assists and a pair of steals.

Sophomore guard Patrick Miller tallied 11 points, four boards and three assists in 29 minutes of action.

Forward Kellen Thornton anchored his fifth double-figure game with 10 points and a season-high eight rebounds. Thornton was 3-of-4 from the field and 4-of-6 at the charity stripe.

Wil Peters and Jordan Cyphers recorded eight points each and combined for seven total rebounds.

The Tigers opened up to a 6-2 advantage with 16:14 left in the first half. Central Michigan fought back with a 17-to-3 run taking a 19-9 lead.

Chris Conner's made free throw at 6:22 snapped a scoring drought of 8:32 for Tennessee State. The Chips continued to stay hot in the half opening up to a 24-11 lead with 4:33 left in the contest.

The Tigers proceeded on a 9-to-2 run, narrowing CMU's lead to 26-20 with 1:35 left in the contest. Cyphers drained a fade-away jumper to make it 26-22. On the next possession, he added a dunk to pull within two with less than a minute to go.

CMU responded with another basket, but Peters added two freebies to help the Tigers make it a 28-26 contest at the half.

For the first half, TSU made 10-of-26 from the floor (39 percent). CMU out-rebounded the Tigers 21-to-17. Covington led the Tigers with six points.

In the second half, Covington banked a triple to give TSU an early 29-28 lead. The Tigers exploded to a 17-0 run to start the second half. Central Michigan's Finis Craddock snapped the streak with a triple at the 14 minute mark.

Derek Jackson drained a triple for the Chips to pull within 51-38 with 9:48 left in the game. The Chips pulled within eight with six-plus minutes remaining.

Cyphers hit another crucial fade-away to help TSU keep a 10-point cushion. CMU's Jackson once again drained another triple to make it a 53-48 game with 4:12 left.

TSU proceeded on a 7-to-2 run with baskets from Thornton and Miller to stretch their lead to 60-51. The Tigers snapped a two-game losing skid and improved their win streak at the Gentry Center to 13-3 during the last two seasons.  

The Tigers take a week hiatus for fall final exams before visiting Delaware State next Saturday, Dec. 17.