ESPN BracketBusters: Tigers take on Central Michigan
Friday, February 19, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University men's basketball team will travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to play Central Michigan in the eighth annual ESPN BracketBusters on Saturday, Feb. 20. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (cst) at the Rose Center.

Fans can listen in via the Internet on CMU's flagship station 95.3 WCFX or watch online at CMUChippewas.com.

TSU (8-20, 5-11 OVC) is riding their longest win streak of the season at four games and are 2-1 in the ESPN BracketBusters. The Tigers have faced Ball State, Loyola (Md.) and Detroit Mercy in the contest with three points or less separating the scores. 

They won their first BracketBusters match-up defeating Ball State, 70-69, in 2006. Against Loyola (Md.), the Tigers fell, 60-62, as the host in 2007 but picked up a win last year defeating Detroit Mercy, 78-75, inside the Gentry Center.

TSU will face Mid-American Conference member CMU for the second time in the program's history and a first in the BracketBusters. CMU takes part in the event for the seventh-straight year and holds a 4-2 record in BracketBuster games which includes a 4-0 record at the Rose Center.The Tigers beat the Chippewas in their first meeting on Dec. 6, 1996 as part of the Illinois Classic, hosted by the University of Illinois. 

Against MAC schools, TSU is 10-7, which includes an 85-57 loss at Northern Illinois (11/20/09) earlier this year.

The Tigers are coming off a 76-57 OVC win over Jacksonville State posting their largest scoring margin of the season. TSU added a cushion in the Ohio Valley Conference standings with the eighth spot and are now two and a half games in front of Southeast Missouri State. SEMO trails in ninth with three conference wins.

TSU shot a season-high 57.4 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range. Jacquan Nobles led the team with 18 points hitting 6-of-12 from the field and 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Martell Buie notched a career-high in back-to-back games. He scored 15 points (5-of-8) including 2-of-4 from long range. Wil Peters followed with 14 points shooting 50 percent from the floor (6-of-12).

TSU jumped out to a 13-5 lead and never looked back shooting 61.9 percent from the field in the first half. In the second, the Tigers held the lead by double digits for the rest of the game.

Nobles continue to lead TSU in scoring with 11.4 ppg with Covington following with 10.8 ppg and a team best, 6.1 rebounds per contest.

The Chippewas (12-13, 7-6) have won one of their last four games, having lost to Ball State in MAC play, 69-63, on Wednesday (2/17). CMU picked up their last win on Feb. 14 against Toledo at home in league play, 63-46.

Central Michigan's offense struggled against Ball State, shooting 36 percent from the floor and 32 percent from long range (8-for-25).

Jordan Bitzer was the only player from CMU to score in double figures with a team-high 18 points.

Robbie Harman joins Bitzer as the team's leading scorers with both managing 14.3 ppg. The two sit in the top two slots in the MAC when shooting from long range. Harman's .424 average is first in the league and Bitzer follows with a steady 38.9 percent to go along with a conference best, 90 percent, from the free-throw line. The two combine to help shoot a team .365 three-point average (7.48 per game) for second in the league. CMU's leading rebounder is Jalin Thomas with 5.4 per game.

The Chippewas are shooting 41 percent from the floor and is one of the toughest defensive teams in the MAC holding opponents under 64 points per game. They are first in defensive rebounds with 32 per game and second in the MAC in steals with eight per contest.

The Tigers will finish out the regular season on a two-game conference road swing making their first stop in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The Tigers will play Southeast Missouri State on Thursday, Feb. 25, at the Show Me Center. Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.