NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After briefly halting conference play on Tuesday to host Middle Tennessee, the Tennessee State men’s basketball team will hit the road to square off against a pair of OVC West opponents on Saturday and Monday. The Tigers will travel to Southeast Missouri on Jan. 11 and UT Martin on Jan. 13.
Against the Blue Raiders, Patrick Miller led the Tigers in scoring for the 15th time this season, totaling 22 points on 6-of-18 shooting. The senior made all seven of his attempts from the free throw line.
Miller will welcome a return to OVC play as the senior is third in scoring (20.7 ppg), sixth in assists (4.0 apg) and first in steals (3.7 spg) in league contests.
M.J. Rhett posted his eighth double-double of the campaign on Tuesday night, finishing with 10 points and a game-high 12 boards.
Rhett has been TSU’s top rebounder all season long, and his performance against MTSU was the 15th time he led the Tigers on the glass.
Tennessee State had a season-high eight blocks and outrebounded MTSU 42 to 37.
TSU won the battle on glass for just the sixth time this season, but the third time in a row. The Tigers are outscoring teams by an average of 1.5 points per game when the squad tallies more rebounds, compared to a minus-12.7 margin when they don’t.
Tennessee State’s first opponent on the road swing will be the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri who were predicted to be tied for first in the OVC West before the season, but have started 0-2 in league play entering Thursday night.
SEMO boasts the preseason OVC Player of the Year in Tyler Stone who is averaging 17.8 points and 9.5 rebounds per contest.
Despite Stone’s good numbers, the Redhawks’ Jarekious Bradley leads the team and the entire conference in scoring (21.3 ppg).
SEMO is the OVC’s highest scoring team, averaging 82.1 per game but eighth in scoring defense (74.7).
After Southeast Missouri, the Tigers will stay on the road to play a rare Monday contest at UT Martin.
The Skyhawks are currently the other winless team in conference play, having dropped their first three contests by an average of 10.6 points per game.
Myles Taylor has been UT Martin’s top point-getter this year, and is scoring 16.1 points per contest. Taylor is also seventh in the OVC in rebounding (6.7 rpg).
The Skyhawks are taking care of the ball and have a plus-3.2 turnover margin, but not doing much with it, as their .398 field goal percentage is last in the conference.
TSU is 23-17 all-time against SEMO and 31-20 versus UT Martin and beat both teams last season by a combined 44 points.
Tigers will meet the Redhawks at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night before tipping off against the Skyhawks at 7 p.m. on Monday. Both games can be seen on the OVC Digital Network.