Game #9-164: Tennessee State at Missouri TigersDecember 8, 2012 3:00 pm
The afternoon begins well for Robert Covington. His first three-pointer swishes. His second one does, too. Before the first media timeout, Robert Covington looks like the best player on the floor.
He is 6-foot-9 and physically imposing, even from the top row of Mizzou Arena. Very few fans know much about Covington, but the numerous NBA
scouts in the building surely do. They say he may find a spot in the first round of next June's NBA Draft, and after drilling two superhoops in the opening minutes, it's hard to disagree.
His Tennessee State team battles Missouri for 20 minutes. The Tigers play so terribly offensively it prompts a few childish outbursts from a middle-aged man sitting one row in front of you. Covington's team won 20 games last year and handed undefeated Murray State its first loss in OVC play, so as the first half ticked away and Tennessee State matched Missouri basket for basket, memories of Norfolk State began to creep in.
Robert Covington is not Kyle O'Quinn, though. After the hot start, he loses his shooting touch. He's trying hard to make a shot -- too hard, probably -- but nothing is working. He misses from the elbow. Misses from the corner. Misses a gimme. It was like watching a disaster movie, only in slow motion. It seemed like every shot he missed was costing him millions of dollars in NBA Draft stock. Without Covington's scoring production, Tennessee State has no chance. Minutes into the second half, MU heats up from the field. Game over, essentially. Robert Covington's team will lose, and even worse, he's playing like a slouch.
Until he dunked the ball with such ferocity it made fans dressed in black-and-gold gasp. There were three minutes left in a blowout, but this might have been the most important play of the game.
Covington finished with 12 points, two blocks and two steals. Not his best performance, but not his worst, either.
His team lost by 30. After a flurry in the first few minutes, Tennessee State managed 28 points during the final 36 minutes of the game. With its heads down, TSU took its beating like men and trudged off the court. After all, in eight days, it had some school called Le-Moyne Owen waiting for it on the schedule.
In that game, Robert Covington scored 31 points, blocked two shots, made a trio of three-pointers and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Let's hope at least one NBA scout saw it.
at MISSOURI 68, TENNESSEE STATE 38
TENNESSEE STATE 4-6 (0-0) -- K. Brown 4-13 5-10 13; P. Miller 2-11 1-3 6; R. Covington 5-18 0-0 12; M. Rhett 1-4 1-2 3; J. Cyphers 4-14 0-0 11; D. Dockery 1-2 0-0 2; K. Thornton 2-12 0-0 4; D. McClung 0-1 0-0 0; J. Harris 0-1 0-0 0; T. Fredrick 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-63 2-5 38.
MISSOURI 8-1 (0-0) -- N. Webster-Chan 2-5 2-2 7; P. Pressey 1-4 2-2 5; L. Bowers 8-15 1-2 18; A. Oriakhi 5-7 5-6 15; E. Ross 0-6 1-2 1; T. Criswell 1-4 0-1 2; S. Jankovic 4-7 4-4 14; K. Bell 2-2 0-0 4; R. Rosburg 1-3 0-0 2; D. Feldmann 0-0 0-0 0; D. Bull 0-0 0-0 0; C. Haith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-53 15-19 68.
Three-point goals: TSU 6-24 (K. Thornton 0-1; J. Cyphers 3-9; R. Covington 2-9; P. Miller 1-4; D. McClung 0-1), MIZZ 5-19 (L. Bowers 1-3; A. Criswell 0-1; E. Ross 0-4; P. Pressey 1-2; N. Webster-Chan 1-4; S. Jankovic 2-5); Rebounds: TSU 23 (M. Rhett 6), MIZZ 46 (L. Bowers 10); Assists: TSU 8 (P. Miller 5), MIZZ 15 (N. Webster-Chan 4); Total Fouls -- TSU 15, MIZZ 12; Fouled Out: TSU-K. Thornton; MIZZ-None.
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