Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team will put its unblemished home record on the line Saturday at 7 p.m. when the squad hosts Southeast Missouri State.
At 4-0, TSU is one of three remaining undefeated teams in the OVC and the leaders of the East Division by one-half games over Belmont and Eastern Kentucky.
In the Tigers' last game versus UT Martin, Kellen Thornton (13) and Patrick Miller (12) each had over ten points and helped the team shoot 51 percent from the field (25-of-49). TSU knocked off the Skyhawks 80-48 thanks to a 17-2 run during the first half that got the team firing on all cylinders.
TSU now holds .503 field goal percentage in conference games this season, which is second-best in the OVC.
The Tigers also benefitted from a stingy defense against UT Martin, an effort that forced 16 turnovers and only allowed 20-of-61 shots to fall (32.8 percent).
The hustle on the defensive end lowered TSU's average points allowed to OVC opponents to a conference-leading 57.5 points per game and a league best .358 field goal percentage defense.
The Tigers will need another all-around team effort in order to beat SEMO (10-8, 2-2 OVC), as the Redhawks have won four of their last six.
However, Southeast Missouri has lost its last two contests to Murray State and Belmont by a combined 43 points. The majority of those points came from a 107-72 loss at the hands of the Bruins on Thursday night.
Against Belmont, SEMO had three players in double-figures including 18 from Tyler Stone, but the Redhawks allowed the Bruins to shoot 61.5 percent from the floor (40-of-65).
Stone is averaging 17 points per contest which leads his team and puts him in fifth place on the conference leaderboard. He is also third in the OVC, averaging 8.2 boards a game, but he trails teammate Nino Johnson who grabs 9.7 boards per contest.
The duo has led the Redhawks to a conference best 38.3 rebounds per game, but it hasn't faced a duo like M.J. Rhett and Thornton.
TSU's Rhett and Thornton rank one and two on the OVC's defensive rebounds list with 34 and 33 boards during conference games, respectively.
TSU is 22-17 all-time versus SEMO and won last year's meeting 75-72 on the back of a double-double from Robert Covington (23 points and 13 rebounds).
The Tigers will be without Covington for Saturday's contest, but they are 5-0 since his injury.
TSU tips off against SEMO tomorrow night at 7 p.m. and the contest will be shown on the OVC Digital Network.