MBB in pivotal OVC game at Southeast Missouri State
Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University men's basketball team will close out the regular season with a two-game road swing making their first stop in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

The Tigers will face Southeast Missouri State for a crucial OVC match-up at the Show Me Center with tip-off slated for 7:45 p.m. Fans can tune in to the live broadcast on the Big Blue Sports Network and watch live on KFVS12.com.

TSU (8-21, 5-11 OVC) will look to hold off SEMO (7-21, 3-13 OVC) for the final spot in the OVC standings. The Tigers, currently ranked eighth in the league, has a two-game lead over the Redhawks with two OVC games left to play.

The Tigers can lock up the final spot in the conference with one win or one Redhawk loss.

TSU is coming off a 79-73 loss in the ESPN BracketBusters last Saturday (2/20) to Central Michigan. Jeremiah Crutcher led all scorers with 21 points shooting 8-of-14. Wil Peters tied a career-high 19 points (6-of-13) connecting 3-of-4 from long range. Robert Covington managed a game-high six rebounds to go along with 12 points (4-of-9) and two blocks.

TSU appeared to have the game in control holding the lead for the majority of the game until the four-minute mark of the second half. The Chippewas finished out the game with an 18-8 run for the win.

Jacquan Nobles (11.2 ppg) and Covington (10.2 ppg) continue to lead TSU in scoring. Covington also leads the Tigers in rebounds with 5.9 per game. Peters (9.8 ppg) has scored in double figures in the last five games and Crutcher (8.2 ppg) has notched 20 or more points in three of the last four. Crutcher also leads the team in assists with 3.8 per contest.

For the series match-up versus SEMO, TSU has won four of the last six meetings. The Tigers hold the series edge, 19-17, but fell to the Redhawks earlier this season, 74-66, at the Gentry Center on Dec. 5, 2009. SEMO snapped the OVC's longest losing streak in conference play ending the 26-game drought. On the season, the Tigers on the road are 2-14 overall, 1-6 when facing conference teams and 6-12 at the Show Me Center.

Crutcher led TSU in scoring with a game-high 21 points. Covington scored 18 points while hauling in a team high, eight boards. Peters followed with 12 points, five rebounds, and a game-high, five assists.

TSU trailed the entire first half and were victims to the Redhawks' 31-17 lead at halftime. In the second half, TSU moved within three, 57-54, but it would be closest the Tigers would get to the lead. SEMO outscored TSU, 17-12, in the closing minutes, connecting 3-of-3 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the free throw line to secure the win.

SEMO was led offensively by Anthony Allison's 18 points (7-of-13 FG) hitting 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Sam Pearson connected all 12 of his free throws shooting 2-of-5 for 16 points while adding eight rebounds. Marland Smith followed with 14 points.

The Redhawks enter the match-up on a six-game skid winning their last game on Feb. 2, 2010 against SIU Edwardsville, 68-49. In their last outing, SEMO dropped a 69-53 decision to Miami (Ohio) on Saturday (2/20) in the ESPN BracketBusters.

Marland Smith scored a career-high 28 points to lead SEMO in the loss to Miami (Ohio) at Millett Hall. He was the only Redhawk to score in double figures while posting the most points in a game this season. He scored 14 points in each half, accounting for nine of Southeast's 18 field goals and six of the Redhawks seven three-pointers on the day.

Southeast hung tough early and led on two occasions in a first-half. Smith heated up to score his first 11 points of the game in a span of 10:26, as the Redhawks never trailed by more than six over that stretch. The Redhawks also went without a field goal in the final 7:41 prior to halftime, which gave Miami a comfortable lead.

Allison leads the team in scoring with 10.2 ppg and is second in the league when shooting from behind the arc (.459). Smith follows with 9.9 ppg with LaMont Russell leading the team on the boards with 6.7 rebounds per game.

Next, the Tigers will finish off the regular season when they travel to Charleston, Ill. to play Eastern Illinois in OVC play. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m.