Murray, Ky. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team will be looking for revenge when the club takes on Murray State on Feb. 9.
Although the Tigers (14-10, 8-3 OVC) have played 25 games since the teams' last meeting on March 3 of last year, the taste of that 64-62 loss still tastes just as sour. Murray State defeated TSU at the end of that game to win the OVC crown and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
If the Tigers don't want a repeat of last year's performance, they will need great games from everyone on the team, but especially M.J. Rhett and Patrick Miller.
In TSU's last game, Rhett set a new career high with 18 points and added seven rebounds en route to an 88-82 overtime victory. The forward also converted 7-of-8 shots against the Govs which was the most buckets the sophomore has ever made in any game.
Rhett has been on a roll since the Tigers got to conference play and is averaging 9.1 points and 8.6 rebounds during OVC games. Rhett had been scoring 3.0 points per contest and securing just 5.7 boards in non-conference games.
Miller is another one of TSU's hottest players as the guard has led the team in scoring during each of TSU's last four contests. With his 25 against the Govs, Miller is now fifth in the OVC with an average of 18.7 points during conference games.
The junior from Chicago is also leading the league in assists per contest with 5.3. He had a game-high seven in Clarksville.
For Murray State, the Racers enter Saturday's contest with a 17-5 record and an 8-2 mark in conference play. They also just handed Belmont its first loss in the OVC on Thursday.
The Racers are led by Isaiah Canaan whose 21.2 points per contest, leads the league. MSU also has Ed Daniel and Stacey Wilson who average 13.8 and 13.3 points per game respectively.
The trio of Racers hasn't had a problem scoring the ball this year, but perhaps Murray State's greatest strength is the team's defense.
MSU is currently number one in the OVC in scoring defense, allowing conference opponents to score 62.9 points per game. The Racers also trail just TSU in opponent's field goal percentage and defensive rebounds.
The battle down low will be a key to the game, as Daniel comes into the game leading the league with 11.2 boards during OVC games. However, Kellen Thornton (9.5) and Rhett rank second and fourth in the same category.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game can be seen on the OVC Digital Network.
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