MBB hosts Murray State in league play
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers will look to use home court advantage at the Gentry Center when they host the top team in the Ohio Valley Conference, the Racers of Murray State.

The match-up is set for, Thursday, Jan. 7, with a new tip-off time, 6:00 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live on tsuradio.com with a live video stream on ovcsports.tv.

TSU (3-12, 0-4 OVC) remains winless in league play and look to snap a four-game losing streak for the third time this season.

The Tigers picked up their first win of the season against Kennesaw State in the Chicago Invitational Challenge, 73-67, on Nov. 27, 2009, after opening the season with four loses.

They would yield to another four-game skid before defeating Detroit-Mercy on Dec. 8, 2009, 70-69.

The Tigers return home after dropping two OVC games on the road with loses to Eastern Kentucky, 79-71 (1/2), and Morehead State, 72-66 (1/4).

The Tigers have recorded one victory on McLendon Court this season with a win over Alabama A&M, 80-77, on Dec. 15, 2009.

OVC Newcomer of the Week (1/4), Josh Sain, has led the team in scoring this season and now averages 14.9 ppg. Robert Covington (9.8 ppg), Wil Peters (9.7 ppg) and Jacquan Nobles (9.6 ppg) follow in the scoring efforts for TSU.

Covington also leads the Tigers in rebounds with 5.5 per game. Peters scored in double figures in six of the last eight games and Nobles is coming off of a 20-point performance against Morehead State.

The Tigers are averaging close to 67 points per contest and shooting 41 percent from the field, including 38 percent from long range.

Murray State (11-3, 3-0 OVC) holds the series record over TSU, 39-15. The Tigers dropped all three meetings last season against the Racers, including an 88-74 loss at the Regional Special Events Center in the first round of the 2009 OVC Basketball Tournament.

TSU picked up their last win with an 83-75 (3/7/08) second-round upset over Murray State, moving on to the finals of the OVC tourney.

The Racers, the OVC co-preseason favorites, opened the early half of the season with eight straight wins after losing the their opener to California, 75-70. Since then, Murray State has won three of their last five games including two straight victories which include a league win over UT Martin, 83-59 (1/4/10) at home.

The Racers manage a balance offense that posts four players in double digits and two players scoring a little over nine points per game.

Ivan Aska (11.8 ppg), Isaiah Canaan (10.9 ppg), B.J. Jenkins (10.7 ppg), Danero Thomas (10.7 ppg), Tony Easley (9.6 ppg) and Isacc Miles (9.4 ppg) power a team that leads the OVC in scoring (79.2 ppg), scoring margin (+17.2) and field goal percentage (.516).

Thomas, Aska, and Jenkins each scored 14 points in the Racers win over UT Martin.

Aska, Miles, and Thomas were also named to the OVC preseason team earlier this year. Aska also leads the team in rebounds with 5.5 per game and Easley comes in with the best shooting percentage in the OVC at 68 percent.

Not only have the Racers topped the league offensively; they also rank first defensively per game in several categories.

MSU sits at the top in blocked shots (5.7), scoring defense (62 ppg), steals (11.5), defensive rebounds (25), defensive field goals (.394) and 3-point field goal (.304).

The Tigers will play their second OVC game in three days when they host UT Martin at the Gentry Center on Saturday, Jan. 9, with tip-off slated for 7:30 p.m.