Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team hopes to continue its winning ways this Saturday when the team travels to Columbia, Mo. for a game against the University of Missouri.
TSU (4-5) is currently on a three-game winning streak in which the squad has outscored Fisk, Alabama A&M and Drexel by a combined 60 points.
The Tigers have found their stroke from the field in the recent wins, shooting 52.5 percent from the field (84-160), 35 percent from beyond the arc (15-43) and 82 percent from the free-throw line (68-83). The shooting hot streak has risen the team's overall field goal percentage by nearly 16 percent.
"The [jump in shooting percentage] can be attributed to the players taking better shots," head coach Travis Williams said. "They haven't been forcing the issue and we have been getting good ball movement."
TSU will have to continue to shoot the ball well against Missouri (7-1), as the SEC member currently ranks third in the conference in field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 38.4 percent.
"It is going to be very important that our players not get caught up in the moment [of facing a SEC team], but play our brand of basketball. We must continue to limit turnovers and make the most of the opportunities that are given to us," Williams said.
Tennessee State's shooting will also be important because Missouri ranks first in the SEC in rebounding margin per contest at +11.8.
In fact, the battle down low should be the key to the game, as TSU also ranks first in the OVC in rebounding margin (+4.7).
Seniors Robert Covington and Kellen Thornton both rank in the top five in the conference with 7.4 rebounds per game each, and should match up nicely with Missouri's Alex Oriakhi (8.1 r/g) and Laurence Bowers (6.5 r/g).
"Saturday's game will definitely be a physical basketball game," Williams said. "We have to keep their post players off the glass and stay within our system."
TSU is 0-1 all-time against Missouri with the only meeting coming in the season opener of the 1995-1996 season. Missouri won the game 89-75.
Tip-off between the Tigers is set at 2 p.m. and fans can follow the action on ESPN3.com, Fox Sports Network Midwest (DirecTV channel 671), Sports South (DirecTV channel 649) and Sun Sports (DirecTV channel 653).