MBB travels to Murray State for OVC tourney first round match-up
Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers will join the 2010 Ohio Valley Conference Men's Basketball Tournament as the No. 8 seed and will travel to Murray, Ky. to face No.1 Murray State.

The match-up is scheduled for Tuesday, March 2, at the Regional Special Events Center with tip-off slated for 7 p.m. Fans can tune in on the Big Blue Sports Network or watch the live video stream at OVCSports.tv

The Tigers (9-22, 6-12 OVC) will make their 22nd appearance in the tournament with six straight. Against the Racers (27-4, 17-1 OVC), TSU trails the all-time series 41-15.  In tournament play, the Tigers have faced off between the Racers more than any other team in the conference with a 3-6 record.

In first-round action in the OVC tourney, TSU posts a 5-16 mark and has played Murray State on five occasions going 0-5. Both teams met in the opening round last season at the Regional Special Events Center with Murray State (No.3) picking up the win over TSU (No.6), 88-74. 

During the regular season, the Tigers dropped both meetings against the Racers. Murray State won 80-59 at the Gentry Center (1/7) and picked up their last win at home, 76-54, (2/4). The last time the Tigers upended the Racers was during the 2008 OVC Tournament when TSU pulled off the 83-75 win in the second round.

In the last meeting, the Tigers were shorthanded after the dismissal of four players. Robert Covington led with game-highs, 19 points and eight rebounds. For the Racers, B.J. Jenkins posted a team-high, 17 points, Danero Thomas scored 12 and Ivan Aska notched 10 points and a team-best, seven boards.

Overall, TSU is led in scoring by Jacquan Nobles (11.4 ppg) and Robert Covington (11.0 ppg). Covington also leads the team in rebounds with 6.3 per game while averaging 6.6 in OVC play.  In conference action Covington posts 12.7 points per game and Nobles follows with 12.6 per game.

The Tigers have won five of their last seven dropping a 66-61 decision to Eastern Illinois on Saturday (2/27). Nobles scored 19 points and Covington managed 18 points with eight rebounds. Covington was named the OVC Freshman of the Week on March 1st for his efforts receiving the title for the second time this season.

Murray State enters the tournament as a high favorite to win the title coming off a 1-1 conference mark to close out the regular season. The Racers are coming off a 88-74 win over Eastern Kentucky (2/27) but suffered a 70-65 loss to last year's tournament champions, Morehead State. The loss snapped a 17-game win streak that was one of the longest on the season in the nation. However, it did not blemish their 14-0 record this season at home in the Regional Special Events Center.

Jenkins (10.7 ppg), Thomas (10.6 ppg), Aska (10.5 ppg), Tony Easley (10.3 ppg) and Isaiah Canaan (10.2 ppg) lead a balanced offensive team that tops the league in nine statistical categories.

The Racers are ranked number one in scoring offense (78.5 ppg), scoring defense (61.4 ppg), scoring margin (+17.1), field-goal percentage (.509), field-goal percentage defense (.388), three-point percentage defense (.331), blocked shots (5.6), steals (10.2) and defensive rebounds (24.5).

In addition, Easley registers a conference best shooting .674 from the field while managing 2.6 blocks per game. Jenkins also posts 1.9 steals per game for an OVC best.

The winner between the Tigers and the Racers will play the winner of the Eastern Illinois (No. 4) and Eastern Kentucky (No. 5) match-up on Friday, March 5th at the Bridgestone Arena (formerly Sommet Center).  The teams to be determined will tip-off at 6 p.m.

Tigers in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament

Posts a 10-19 overall record and 5-16 mark in first round games

Last first round victory was over Morehead State, 68-61, in 2008

Registered first tourney win against Tennessee Tech, 77-71, in 1993 en route to their first OVC Basketball Championship in win over Murray State, 82-68

Repeated as OVC Champions in 1994 defeating Murray State, 73-72

Posts a 2-1 mark in the OVC Tournament Finals making their last appearance in 2008 with a loss to Austin Peay State, 82-64

Played in one overtime game in the tournament, losing to Austin Peay State in the first round, 89-84, in 2007