Morehead State may have swept the season series, but Tennessee State gets the win that counts. Jordan Cyphers scores a career-high 23 points, as TSU survives a second half run to eliminate Morehead State
|Morehead State||Tennessee State|
|FG (%)||25-59 (42.4%)||29-60 (48.3%)|
|3FG (%)||7-18 (38.9%)||8-19 (42.1%)|
|FT (%)||18-29 (62.1%)||22-27 (81.5%)|
|REB (O/D)||40 (17/23)||35 (12/23)|
|POINTS:||Drew Kelly - 16||Jordan Cyphers - 23|
|REBOUNDS:||Three Tied With 7||Kellen Thorton, Robert Covington - 8|
|ASSISTS:||Devon Atkinson - 7||Patrick Miller - 10|
Provided By Tennessee State Athletics
The Tennessee State men’s basketball team was 0-2 against Morehead State during the regular season, but the Tigers beat the Eagles when it mattered most on Thursday night, 88-75.
Jordan Cyphers set a new career high with 23 points on 5-of-7 shooting. The Wichita, Kan. native was also 10-of-11 from the charity stripe.
Patrick Miller had his second consecutive double-double for TSU, finishing with 15 points and 10 assists.
Seniors and All-OVC Second Teamers Robert Covington and Kellen Thornton added 21 and 15 points, respectively, and combined for 18 of TSU’s 35 rebounds.
TSU forced 17 turnovers in the game and outshot Morehead State, 48.3 percent to 42.4.
Morehead State’s only lead was after scoring the game’s opening basket, and TSU forced four turnovers during the next four minutes, sparking a 9-2 Tiger run. Highlighting the stretch was a steal by Miller, followed by a long cross-court pass ahead to Cyphers, which resulted in an old-fashioned three-point play for the Tigers.
Miller, the OVC’s leader in assists at 5.5 per game, had five dimes in the first half alone.
The Tennessee State full-court press forced yet another Eagle miscue at the 13:42 mark and the ball ended up in the hands of Thornton. The senior missed a three, but five-foot-ten guard Jay Harris was there deep in the lane to clean up the mess. Harris’s hoop put TSU in the driver’s seat, 15-9.
A three by Covington with eight minutes to go in the half widened TSU’s lead even farther and a layup by Miller a couple of possessions later made the score 27-13 in favor of the Tigers.
TSU eventually raised its advantage all the way to 15, but a 6-2 Morehead run to end the half made the score, 41-30, heading into the locker room.
The Tigers flew around on defense during the first 20 minutes, forcing nine turnovers and only allowing the Eagles to shoot 34.5 percent from the field (10-of-29).
Morehead State chipped away at TSU’s lead and brought it down to nine during the second half’s first three minutes, but then Covington took over. The senior first polished off a rim-rocking alley-oop and then swooshed a three on TSU’s next possession, making the score 55-41.
Covington’s scoring flurry moved him into seventh place on the school’s all-time scoring list, passing Bernard Bailey’s 1700 career points.
Following the Bellwood, Ill. product’s milestone, Morehead State rattled off a 15-4 run to pull within three of the lead. Harris answered with a three and fast-break layup and TSU was back in control, 64-56.
It seemed as though the Tigers weathered the storm, as TSU went up by double-digits a few possessions later and never relinquished its big lead.
A three by Cyphers at the 1:20 mark gave the senior his career-tying 22nd point and ended Morehead’s chances at a comeback.
What’s Being Said
Morehead State’s Milton Chavis:
The tears won’t stop falling but I’m thankful for everything and ready for the next phase of my life. Morehead State Eagle for life!!
— Milt (@MiltonDoinWork) March 8, 2013
Players were flying into tables during the game:
Our media equipment nearly got wiped out on a fastbreak play during TSU-Morehead. @wilsonsportmgt is lucky I put my body on the line.
— Wade Neely (@WadeNeely) March 8, 2013
I just watched Tennessee State this past Saturday, and they played almost nothing like the team that took the court tonight. TSU was aggressive from the start, took care of the basketball, and really played a much more complete game. This Tigers squad looked like the team that just nearly punched their ticket last season.
Morehead State didn’t play particularly poorly. They just failed to make shots. In two occasions during the first half, the Eagles got a steal only and had a breakaway only to be block by a TSU player flying down the court. Unlike last night, very little came easy for the Eagles, and when they’re not getting easy buckets, their offense tends to suffer greatly.
There was an extended stretch where TSU struggled to get good looks and hold onto the basketball, and Morehead State capitalized. But all in all, a very impressive performance from the Tigers, one they’ll need to match to have a chance to pull an upset against top-seeded Belmont.