MBB open 2010 on the road against Eastern Kentucky
Friday, January 1, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University men's basketball team will open 2010 with a two-game, Ohio Valley Conference, road swing.

The Tigers will resume conference play, making their first stop in Richmond, Ky. when they take on Eastern Kentucky at McBrayer Arena on Saturday, Jan. 2, at 6:00 p.m.

The game will be broadcasted live on the Big Blue Sports Network and OVCSports.tv.

TSU (3-10, 0-2) is coming off a 77-65 loss to Alabama (12/30) and will look to jump back in the win column after losing their last two games. The Tigers last victory came back on Dec. 15, at home in the Gentry Center, with an 80-77 win over Alabama A&M.

The Tigers also enter the conference match-up ranked ninth in the OVC team standings, dropping their first two conference games at home. TSU suffered a triple overtime, 83-81, loss to Eastern Illinois (12/3/09) before losing to Southeast Missouri State, 74-66 (12/5/09). Senior, Jeremiah Crutcher, scored 21 points in each game and is averaging 8.2 ppg.

During the early conference games, the Tigers were without leading scorer junior Josh Sain and OVC Preseason selection, junior, Darius Cox.

Sain leads the Tigers in scoring with 14.9 points per game and is coming off an 18-point performance against Alabama. Freshman, Robert Covington, follows with 9.8 ppg and leads the team in rebounds with 5.5 per game. Covington pulled in a game-high, nine boards, in the loss to Alabama.

Sophomore, Wil Peters, has scored in double figures in five of the last six games, posting 16 points from 6-of-9 shooting against Alabama. Due to consistent play, Peters' score average has increased steadily to 9.6 points per game.

Collectively, TSU is shooting 40 percent from the floor and is averaging close to 67 points per game. The Tigers currently rank in the top three in the conference in free-throw percentage (.710), steals (8.5 ppg), and three-point field goals made (7.5 ppg).

For the series, the Tigers trail Eastern Kentucky, 22-21. Last season, the teams split the meetings winning on home court. TSU won, 69-63, at the Gentry Center (1/3/09) and EKU outlasted the Tigers in their last meeting at McBrayer Arena, 77-59. 

Eastern Kentucky (8-5, 1-1) is coming off a 1-1 outing at the 2009 Dr. Pepper Classic hosted by Chattanooga. EKU was downed, 68-54, to host Chattanooga (12/30) in the championship game, but picked up a 76-62 win over Morgan State the day before.

The Colonels are led by OVC preseason selection Justin Stommes. Stommes is averaging 15.5 ppg and managed 17 points per game during the Classic. Stommes scored 20 points in the Colonels win over the Tigers last season. Josh Taylor (14.1 ppg), the OVC's leader in three-point field goals made, and Papa Oppong (10.9 ppg) also posts double figures in scoring. On the glass, Spencer Perrin leads the Colonels in rebounds with 6.3 rpg.

The Colonels are shooting 48 percent overall while averaging 72 points per game. They have won one of their last four games and will be hosting their first OVC game of the season.

EKU split two games in conference play in early December, defeating UT Martin, 85-74, after losing a close battle to Murray State, 62-60. In the conference standings, they are ranked fourth and lead the OVC in three-point field goals (10.5 per game) and three-point percentage (.414).

Next, the Tigers will continue OVC play when they face Morehead State in Morehead, Ky. The game is scheduled for Jan. 4, with tip-off slated for 6:30 p.m. at Johnson Arena.