Tigers Battle Bruins in Divisional Rematch
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Tigers Battle Bruins in Divisional Rematch

Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State men's basketball team will look to rebound after a loss to Murray State when the squad hosts the OVC's other division leader, Belmont on Thursday night's "White Out".

Last time the two schools from the Music City met, the Tigers fell to the Bruins, 78-66, at the Curb Event Center.

This time, the matchup will be at the Gentry Center where the Tigers are 9-0 this season- their best start since 1992-93's 10-game streak. TSU has also won 19 out of their last 20 games at home.

For Tennessee State, the team comes into Saturday's contest having just lost to the reigning OVC Champion, Murray State on Saturday in Kentucky.

In that game, TSU fell to the Racers, 69-48, thanks to a late 27-8 Racer run. TSU's 48 points were its lowest in an OVC game since scoring 44 in a loss to Austin Peay on Feb. 12, 2007.

Kellen Thornton and Patrick Miller paced the Tigers (14-11, 8-4 OVC) with 12 points apiece and Robert Covington added 11. With his 11 points, Covington passed Monti Davis for eighth place on TSU's all-time scoring list. The senior now has 1,604 career points.

Covington also tallied 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season and his first since Dec. 16.

Since coming back from a knee injury, Covington is averaging 12.7 points and 6.7 boards during the team's last three games. It is a far cry from his 17.4 and 7.7 he was totaling before the injury but to the forward's defense, he is playing 3.6 minutes less per contest (29.6 before, 26.0 after).

His health and performance will be critical for TSU as the Tigers didn't have Covington the last time they placed the Bruins.

For Belmont, the Bruins come into Thursday's game sporting a 20-5 overall record and an 11-1 conference mark.

Ian Clark has been a force for his team all season and is averaging 19.3 points per game and is shooting 51.2 percent from three this year. He is second in the league in scoring and is a nominee for OVC Player of the Year.

Clark is the main option, but he isn't the only option. The Bruins also have Kerron Johnson and Trevor Noack who average 13.4 and 12.0 points per contest, respectively.

The trio has led Belmont to the top spot in the conference in scoring offense (77.4 points), field goal percentage (49.3) and three-point percentage (40.7).

Stopping the Belmont's offensive attack will TSU's biggest concern, but the good news for the Tigers is that they currently rank second in the OVC in field goal percentage defense (41.6) over the last 12 games.

TSU is 7-10 all-time versus Belmont and will look to win for the eighth time on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and fans can watch the game on ESPNU or online at http://espn.go.com/watchespn/index/_/id/758639/belmont-vs-tennessee-state