Robert Covington and Kellen Thornton each had a double-double but Tennessee State could not keep pace with Evansville and lost 84-72 Tuesday in a first-round CollegiateInsider.com tournament contest.
TSU (18-15) never led but tied it four times in the first 5:18 and was within one, 24-23, following a Covington jump shot with 7:39 to go in the first half.
Evansville (19-14) scored the next 10 points and eventually led by nine at halftime. The Purple Aces pushed their advantage to as many as 20 in the second half.
The Tigers got as close as eight twice in the final two minutes, the second time when Covington’s jumper made it 78-70 with 1:17 to go, but never seriously threatened.
Thornton came off the bench and finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high five steals. Covington had 19 points, 13 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots. Patrick Miller added 18 points.
Those three combined for 23 of TSU’s 29 field goals but they also accounted for 13 of their team’s 17 turnovers.
Evansville’s Colt Ryan led all scorers with 22 points. Ned Cox made four of six 3-pointers and finished with 16 points.