SENIOR NIGHT: Tigers host Jacksonville State
Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers will face Jacksonville State in OVC play on Wednesday, Feb. 17, for Coaches vs. Cancer* and Senior Night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Gentry Center.

The game was rescheduled from its original date, Feb. 2, due to a leak in the roof of the Gentry Center after an ice storm hit the Nashville area. The game will broadcast live on the Big Blue Sports Network and OVCsports.tv.

TSU (7-20, 4-10 OVC) is riding their longest winning streak of the season at three games picking up OVC wins against UT Martin, 74-68 (2/6), Austin Peay, 76-67 (2/13), and Tennessee Tech, 109-102 2OT, (2/15).

The Tigers enter the game having defeated the Golden Eagles in double overtime for their second straight win at home. Robert Covington was held scoreless in the first half but scored five points in the closing minutes of regulation and posted 19 points in extra play. He managed his first collegiate double double with career-highs, 24 points and 12 rebounds, to go with two blocks. 

Jeremiah Crutcher also finished with 24 points and Wil Peters followed with 16 points and eight assists. Tashan Fredrick finished with a career-high 13 points and tallied a double double with 10 boards. Jacquan Nobles added 12 points with Martell Buie netting a career-high 11 points. The victory gives the Tigers a cushion in the eighth spot in the league race for the post-season tournament. 

Nobles (11.1 ppg) and Covington (10.9 ppg) lead the team in scoring and have combined to account for 31 percent of the offense. Covington also holds the team's best rebounding average with 6.2 boards per game.

The Tigers are idle on the season in shooting with 41 percent from the floor. With the winning streak, TSU has slipped into the top three in several team categories in the conference. They continue to shoot well from the outside and are second in three-point shots made per game (7.8) and third in offensive rebounds (12.8). Shorthanded with nine players on the roster, they have relied heavily on their defense and rank second in the conference in defending the three-pointer holding teams to 34.8 percent. The Tigers are also third in steals per game with eight.

For the series, TSU holds the slim advantage, 8-7, but has won two out of the last three meetings. In the last game against Jacksonville State (1/21) the Tigers fell 85-67 after leading at the break. Three players finished in double figures for TSU. Covington posted 11 points and seven boards in the loss.

The Tigers committed 20 turnovers including eight late in the second half leading to 16 points for the Gamecocks. JSU scored 50 points in the paint, 27 fast-break points and 15 second-chance points while capitalizing on TSU turnovers to secure the win.

JSU shot 53 percent from the field and were led in scoring by Nick Murphy, Trenton Marshall, and Stephen Hall. Murphy shot 10-of-14 and registered a double double with a game-high 23 points and 12 rebounds. Marshall went 9-of-16 for 21 points adding nine boards and five assists. Hall scored 12 points, hitting 5-of-6 from the floor, and Dominique Shellman dished out a game-high 10 assists.

JSU (11-15, 7-9 OVC) has lost two straight dropping OVC games against Murray State, 75-67 (2/13) and Austin Peay, 83-63 (2/15). They have won one of their last five games. In the loss to APSU, Shellman, Murphy and John Barnes were the only Gamecocks to score in double figures. Shellman and Barnes each pitched in 13 points and Nick Murphy added 10. Stephen Hall scored eight to go along with his team-high nine rebounds.

Marshall, the OVC's leading scorer (17.7 ppg), scored just three points after playing only 15 minutes because of foul trouble. It was just the second time this season he has failed to score in double figures. JSU would not be able to get any closer than 13 in the second half and trailed by as many as 23 as the clock ran down.

On Monday (2/15) Marshall and Murphy received the league's weekly awards. Marshall received his seventh OVC Newcomer of the Week honor after receiving the player of the week award earlier this season. Murphy (14.4 ppg) was tagged conference player of the week for the second time this season. Both players are among the best in the conference in other statistics. Marshall ranks third in steals with 1.7 per game and Murphy is listed third in rebounding with a team best 6.9 per contest.

Also powering the Gamecocks offensively is Jeremy Bynum (10.6 ppg) and Dominique Shellman (5.1 ppg). Shellman is listed third in assists in the OVC with 4.5 points per game.

On the road, the Gamecocks are 1-9 overall and 1-6 in the conference. JSU is shooting 44 percent from the floor and are the OVC's best free throw shooting team (.732). They have distributed the ball well among their top scorers topping the assist category with 15.8 per game. They are third in the OVC in three-point field-goal percentage (.375) connecting an average of 6.3 per game.

Defensively, the Gamecocks are ranked second when hauling in defensive rebounds (23.8 pg) and blocking shots (4.9 pg). Amadou Mbodji and Sean Thurston head the defensive effort in the paint. Mbodji (1.8 bpg) is ranked third in blocks and Sean Thurston (1.4 bpg) is fourth.

Next, the Tigers will take on Central Michigan in the eighth annual ESPN BracketBusters on Saturday, Feb. 20. Tip-off is slated for 6:30 p.m. at the Rose Center.

*Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers basketball coaches, their teams, and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The program leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs. Coaches wear sneaker with their dress slacks to honor the cause.