Nashville, Tenn. - The Tigers will end the regular season when Tennessee State University faces Eastern Illinois in conference play at the Lantz Arena in Charleston, Ill. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The Tigers (9-21, 6-11 OVC) secured at least the eighth seed in the OVC tournament but could move up to seventh with a win over the Panthers and other league losses.
TSU has won five of their last six games and is coming off a 74-67-conference win over Southeast Missouri State on Thursday (2/25).
Freshman Robert Covington posted career highs in points and rebounds registering his second double double of the season with 27 points and a game-high 16 boards. Martell Buie scored 12 points hitting 4-of-9 overall and Wil Peters added 11 points connecting 3-of-4 from three-point range. Jeremiah Crutcher scored nine points and dished out a game-high six assists.
The Tigers jumped out to the largest lead of the night, 29-11 and held the advantage at the break, 43-29. In the second half, SEMO outscored TSU, 33-17, which included a 23-9 run with the Redhawks taking a 62-60 lead with 5:14 remaining. The Tigers responded with Crutcher and Peters nailing back-to-back three-point baskets to spark a 14-5 run to close out the game.
Jacquan Nobles (11.1 ppg) and Covington (10.7 ppg) continue to lead TSU in scoring. Covington also leads the Tigers in rebounds with 6.2 per game. Peters (9.8 ppg) has scored in double figures in the last six games and Crutcher (8.3 ppg) has notched 20 or more points in three of the last five. Crutcher also leads the team in assists with 3.8 per contest.
TSU offensively is shooting 41 percent from the field and is second in the league connecting eight three-pointers per game. Defensively, they are second in defending the three-point shot (.350) and third in steals with eight per game.
Against EIU (17-11, 10-7), TSU holds the series record at 23-18 winning seven of the last nine meetings. Earlier this year, the Tigers dropped an 83-81 triple overtime decision at the Gentry Center (12/3/09). It was the program's first triple overtime game.
Crutcher scored a career-high 21 points to lead TSU, hitting 5-of-14 overall and connecting all seven free throws. Covington shot 6-of-13 for 17 points and Peters added 11 points.
For the third overtime, the Panthers scored six points, holding the Tigers to four with under three minutes remaining to secure the win.
EIU's Edin Suljic posted a double-double, scoring a game-high 25 points (10-of-13) while pulling down 10 boards. Tyler Laser scored 15 points and Ousmane Cisse registered a double-double, with 12 points and 10 rebounds. T.J. Marion went 6-of-11 from the floor for 12 points.
EIU is riding a six-game winning streak including an 83-73 win over Austin Peay State on Thursday (2/25).
Austin Peay held a slim 36-35 lead at the half however the Panthers opened the second half with a 7-0 run on their way to their fifth straight home win.
Laser and Granger both led the Panthers with 21 points each. James Hollowell added 12 and Shaun Pratl pitched in 11.
Laser (14.3 ppg) and Granger (10.3 ppg) lead the Panthers in scoring and are both ranked in the top three in free throw shooting. Granger is first in the OVC at 87 percent and Laser is third shooting 84 percent. Their shooting from the charity stripe helps EIU shot 73 percent as a team, which ranks second in the conference.
The Panthers are also ranked second in field-goal defense (.408) while registering third in three-point field goal defense (.351) and defensive rebounds (23.6).
The Tigers will play in the OVC tournament beginning on March 2 against a team to be determined.