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Tennessee State vs South Carolina

Tennessee St. 64, South Carolina 63


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Robert Covington scored 16 points and Jordan Cyphers added 12 of the bench to lead Tennessee State to its first victory ever against a Southeastern Conference team, a 64-63 win over South Carolina on Sunday night.

The Tigers (2-2), of the Ohio Valley Conference, had been 0-23 all-time against SEC programs. The closest margin of defeat in those games was a 66-62 loss to Alabama in 1993. It was Tennessee State's first victory over a BCS conference team since it knocked off Big Ten member Illinois on Dec. 30, 2007.

The Gamecocks (1-2), who trailed by 22 with 14:49 remaining, had a chance to force overtime on two R.J. Slawson free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining, but the 78 percent free-throw shooter missed the second to keep them a point behind.

South Carolina committed a foul with 4.2 seconds remaining, and Covington missed the front-end of a one-and-one opportunity to give the Gamecocks a final hope. Eric Smith got the outlet pass near midcourt but was trapped by Will Peters and Patrick Miller, who stripped the ball away and South Carolina never got a shot off.

"I'm proud of our guys for weathering the storm," Tennessee State coach John Cooper said. "They outplayed us in the second half but even though it got ugly for us we found a way to win."

The Tigers' only previous win this season came against Fisk, an NAIA team, and they lost their opener to Saint Louis by 34 points. But they took the lead early against the Gamecocks and never trailed in the second half.

Tennessee State held a 22-point advantage with 14:49 remaining, but South Carolina went on a 15-0 run to scratch back into it.

Smith scored all 18 of his points in the second half for the Gamecocks, but it wasn't to prevent their second straight loss to a team from a mid-major conference. They lost to Elon of the Southern Conference on the road Wednesday night.

South Carolina fell behind by shooting 22.7 percent (5 for 22) in the first half and never fully recovered. They had more turnovers (12) than field goals (5).

"We aren't good enough to play one half and win a game against a good basketball team," South Carolina coach Darrin Horn said.

Cooper thought his team responded with key baskets to keep the lead when the Gamecocks drew close in the second half.

"We made some shots when we needed them," Cooper said. "Everybody did a little something to keep us in the lead."

The game, part of the Las Vegas Invitational, was a homecoming of sorts for Cooper. He as an assistant coach under Eddie Fogler at South Carolina from 1995-2001 and was on the staff that won the program's only SEC championship in 1996-97.

"It's always good to get a road win," Cooper said. "But to come back here, my wife's hometown, with a lot of friends, family and familiar faces in the crowd, feels great. Frankly one of my fondest memories as a coach was being here on some pretty good teams."

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Tennessee State (2-2) «333164
South Carolina (1-2)194463

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Tennessee State Tigers
R. Covington, F375-123-493216
K. Moore, F222-73-64227
M. Rhett, F150-10-02140
W. Peters, G343-70-01028
P. Miller, G324-82-516311
K. Thornton183-31-22157
J. Cyphers163-73-420212
K. Butcher151-10-02213
M. Green70-00-00020
M. Bawa40-10-00000
Totals 21-4712-2128152364
South Carolina Gamecocks
M. Cooke, F364-121-262410
A. Gill, F211-30-02322
D. Harris, F162-21-17025
L. Jackson, G265-62-423112
D. Leonard, G241-52-41235
R. Slawson283-74-660310
E. Smith186-101-121218
B. Richardson160-80-01230
C. Geathers130-10-02010
B. Williams20-11-20001
Totals 22-5512-2033132163
Ohio Valley
EastConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Eastern Ky.0-05-1127
Morehead St.0-03-1259
Tenn. St.0-03-2313
Tenn. Tech0-02-2228
Jax. State0-02-5275
WestConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Murray St.0-04-255
Austin Peay0-02-4243
UT Martin0-02-4276
Eastern Ill.0-00-3215
SE Miss. St.0-00-4198

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Texas A&M0-06-0268
S. Carolina0-05-010
Ole Miss0-04-2261
Miss. State0-02-3202
Other games
Old Dom 52 Final
Kentucky 62
COPS 70 Final
UConn 87
MS Val St 75 Final
NC 101
USA 39 Final
Florida St 80
Purdue 56 Final
Alabama 65
Ole Miss 66 Final
MU 96