NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team will travel a few minutes down the road to Vanderbilt University for a game Sunday at 6:00 p.m. at Memorial Gymnasium.
The Tigers (2-1) will take on the Commodores (2-0) for the sixth time in school history. Vanderbilt has won all five of the previous games, the last one coming in 2009 when they beat TSU 84-71. Head Coach Dana Ford was an assistant coach for the Tigers during that last matchup.
In each of its first three games, TSU has had a different player score at least 20 points. Marcus Roper put up 23 against Reinhardt, Jay Harris then put up 23 against Southern Illinois, and Xavier Richards posted 21 Thursday night against Fisk. All three did it efficiently, too, shooting at least 58 percent from the floor.
Last Time out for the Tigers
TSU won the Battle of Jefferson Street over Fisk 75-60. The two teams played stout defense in the first half as the Tigers led 29-22 lead at the break. Richards proceeded to score 17 of his 21 total points in the second half to spur TSU on to victory.
It was a tale of two halves for the Tigers, shooting-wise, as they knocked down 64 percent of their shots in the closing 20 minutes compared to 38 percent in the first 20. The key that allowed TSU to create the eventual margin of victory was its ability to get to the free-throw line. Big Blue had 20 free-throw attempts in the second half, making 14 of them, compared to Fisk’s four attempts.
Last Time out for the Commodores
Vanderbilt beat Lipscomb on Thursday night by a score of 72-62. The Commodores were powered through by Damian Jones’ 21 points as they earned their 24th win in the all-time series with the Bisons.
After trailing at half by 15 points, Lipscomb made it a one possession game with 10 minutes left in the game. The next eight shots by the Bisons did not find the net, however, a scoring drought the Commodores took advantage of.
Size-wise, Vanderbilt’s key man Jones is taller than any TSU player that will be on the floor, which will cause some matchup issues.
In their first two games, the Commodores have held opponents to a .311 field goal percentage and a .277 three-point percentage. On offense the Tigers will need to focus on making good shot selections as the Commodores have had 68 defensive rebounds, thus far.
· With his 21 points, and 11 rebounds, Richards is now averaging close to a double-double. His per-game numbers through these first three games are 12.3 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. Pretty good numbers for any post player, but Richards is a 6’ 2” guard.
· Harris was held in check Thursday night. After posting efficient numbers through the first pair of games, he was held to 2-for-10 from the floor and 1-for-5 from behind the arc. He did manage to make 4-of-6 freebies, though. He will look to bounce back as TSU hits the road.
· Both teams’ trips to the charity stripe will be closely examined by either coach. Vanderbilt and TSU both shoot 60 percent from the foul line. A thorn in the side of any basketball team is poor foul shooting and both teams will look to improve that percentage as the season goes on.
The game is scheduled to start at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday night at Memorial Gymnasium. This game will also be the first part of the Barclays’ Tournament that TSU will compete in, culminating in two games at Jersey City next Friday and Saturday.