NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team wraps up a three-game home stand with an Ohio Valley Conference game against Eastern Illinois University at Gentry Center on Wednesday.
The Tigers (3-13, 0-1 OVC) hold a 26-21 series advantage over the Panthers (8-6, 2-0 OVC). TSU will look to get its first conference win against an EIU side that has started off 2-0 in conference play for the first time since the 1997-98 season.
EIU won last year’s matchup in Charleston 70-69. TSU had a four-point lead with 0:33 to play. The Panthers got a three pointer to pull within one. Chris Olivier then hit a jumper with 0:02 to play after the Tigers missed a free throw on the other end.
Olivier, the current OVC Player of the week, scored 14 points and nabbed 15 rebounds during last year’s game. Jay Harris, the only Tiger on last year’s team, had eight points on 50 percent shooting (3-for-6) with three assists.
TSU comes into this year’s matchup after dropping their first OVC game to SEMO 77-62. It was the second-straight game starting five freshmen, the first with a result of a loss, though. Harris and Marcus Roper came off the bench to each score 13 while Christian Mekowulu put up 11 points, mostly from the foul line (9-of-12).
Mekowulu coupled that game with a 16 point, 11 board performance against Kennesaw State to earn his second OVC Freshman of the Week award.
The Panthers have had a pair of intriguing OVC wins to begin conference season. After a 61-59 win against Tennessee Tech, EIU came away with a 59-50 OT win over Jacksonville State. Olivier garnered OVC Player of the Week honors after scoring 42 points through the two games.
Its game with TSU will be EIU’s first road conference game of the season.
Olivier leads the Panthers both on the scoreboard and on the backboard. He averages 11.9 points per game while grabbing 5.2 rebounds per game. He is shooting 55.1 percent thus far and has a dozen blocks to go along with nine steals.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. at Gentry. It is the second half of a doubleheader with the Lady Tigers hosting the Panthers at 5:30 p.m.