Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University men's basketball team will finish 2009 when they face the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The game is scheduled for Wednesday, December 30, at Coleman Coliseum with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Nursing a 1-5 road record, the Tigers (3-9) have won two of their last three games and will face their second straight Southeastern Conference opponent. The Tigers enter the match-up with a recent loss to Vanderbilt, 84-71, at Memorial Gymnasium.
Four players scored in double figures for the first time this season, and as team, TSU shot a season-high 86 percent from the free-throw line. Lonnie Funderburke posted a career-high, 12 points with Jacquan Nobles and Josh Sain each contributing 14 points. Robert Covington followed with 13 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
On the season, the Tigers have improved offensively and are now shooting 40 percent from the floor. Sain leads the team in scoring with 14.6 ppg. Covington has made 9-of-12 starts and is posting 10.6 ppg and a team-high 5.3 rpg.
TSU first-year head coach, John Cooper, will return to the state of Alabama after serving as an associate basketball head coach at Auburn for five years. The game will be his first in Alabama since joining TSU.
Cooper will go up against Alabama's head coach Anthony Grant who has led the Crimson Tide to an 8-4 record in his first season at the helm. Grant was named head coach after serving in the same capacity at Virginia Commonwealth for three years.
Alabama has won five of their last seven games and are outscoring their opponents, 73-66. The Crimson Tide picked up a win in their last outing (12/23) against Mercer, 90-71. The Tide shot 49 percent from the field and posted four players in double figures.
JaMychal Green tallied a double-double, 27 points and 13 rebounds, with Mikhail Torrance and Senario Hillman each chipping in 14 points. Tony Mitchell added 11 points.
Green (15.8 ppg) and Torrance (15.7 ppg) lead the team in scoring with Green pulling in a team best, 6.9 rebounds per game.
For the series, Alabama holds a 5-0 margin over the Tigers. In last year's meeting, Alabama held off the Tigers' comeback effort, winning 75-66, at Coleman Coliseum.
The Tigers will open 2010 on the road to continue OVC play with a two-game road swing in Kentucky. The Tigers will first match-up against Eastern Kentucky (1/2) before playing Morehead State (1/4). Both games are slated for a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.