NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University men’s basketball team will host its final home game of the season as UT Martin travels to Gentry Center on Thursday night.
The Tigers (5-24, 2-12 OVC) will face off with the Skyhawks (17-10, 9-5 OVC) for the 53rd time in school history. TSU has won 31 of the 52 matchups leading up to this season, but UT Martin won last year’s matchup.
The Skyhawks won 100-81, using an early onslaught of scoring as a catalyst for the win. The Tigers did not make a field goal for the first 5:16 of the game, and only made one free throw, and fell behind 16-1. Jay Harris scored 15 points (5-for-13) on the game, adding four assists and three rebounds (all offensive boards).
Six players for UT Martin scored in double figures during last year’s game.
TSU is coming off a loss to Morehead State, 86-70 this past Monday night. After making the first basket, a trey by Marcus Roper, the Tigers never led the rest of the way. The Eagles dropped 54 points in the first half, the most points the Tigers have allowed in a half all year.
Xavier Richards scored a career-high 23 points (7-for-11) in the loss while adding four rebounds. Roper and Harris both scored a dozen points to give TSU three double-digit scorers.
UT Martin, meanwhile, is coming off a 76-68 loss to SIUE. The game was tied at 65 with three minutes left when the Cougars went on an 11-3 run to seal the win. Alex Anderson tried to lead the charge for UT Martin as he scored 17 points (6-for-11) while dishing out five assists.
The Skyhawks have been one of the surprises of the conference season. Picked to finish last in the western division, via the preseason polls, UT Martin currently sits alone in second place behind Murray State.
They have been efficient on the offensive end of the floor, shooting a 47 percent clip while averaging just under 10 offensive rebounds a game. Deville Smith and Marshun Newell have been the team’s stalwarts, offensively, each averaging just over 13 points a game.
Tip time is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Gentry Center. This is the Tigers’ senior night, meaning directly before the start of the game, TSU will celebrate the career of Jay Harris.