Macon, Ga. - A run midway in the second half was too much to overcome as the Tigers dropped a 68-60 contest to Mercer in the first round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.
Mercer (23-11) used 14 points from Justin Cecil in the second half to take over the game and advance to the second round of the CIT. TSU (20-13) fell to 0-3 in postseason play since joining NCAA Division I.
The Bears held the Tigers scoreless for a stretch of four minutes and took the go ahead advantage. TSU was held at 35 percent shooting, knocking down 22-of-62 field goal attempts. Mercer connected on 41 percent (20-of-49) and knocked down eight triples.
Robert Covington extended his double-figure scoring streak to 32 straight games with 18 points and eight rebounds in the loss. The junior also notched two blocks, two steals and dished out an assist.
Senior Kenny Moore tallied 11 points, three rebounds and three assists. Jordan Cyphers connected on three triples and a free throw for 10 points. Guards Wil Peters and Patrick Miller each had eight points with a combined six assists.
At the half, Tennessee State held a 21-19 advantage, scoring 10 points off Mercer turnovers. Cyphers led the Tigers with seven points, while Covington had five points and five rebounds.
Mercer opened up to a to a six point lead with 10:19 left before the Tigers came firing back. TSU used a couple of solid runs and a great play from Cyphers.
The junior connected on a long range triple to put the Tigers up 14-13. From there, TSU went on a 7-to-6 run, taking a 21-19 lead into the locker room.
Mercer took a run to start the second half, before TSU opened up on a 42-38 lead with 12:23 remaining in the contest.
Langston Hall buried two consecutive treys for the Bears to put MU up 47-44 with 7:54 left in the contest. The Bears extended their advantage to seven with less than five minutes remaining.
Tennessee State could not find a long run to cut down the Bears' deficit as Mercer took the 68-60 victory.
Tennessee State concluded a season that saw the school's first winning season since 1996 and first 20-win campaign since 1979. The Tigers also defeated an SEC opponent (South Carolina) and a ranked opponent (No. 7 Murray State) for the first time in the program's history.
-- TSU TIGERS --