NASHVILLE --- A tough road swing continues for the Tennessee State basketball team as the Tigers visit Ohio State (Dec. 28) before continuing on to Kentucky to battle the Wildcats (Dec. 30) in the final two games before opening Ohio Valley Conference play.
The Tigers return to action for the first time since playing at Texas-El Paso last Saturday. TSU led UTEP much of the first half in a game that saw the lead exchange hands nine times in the opening half before the Miners carried a 46-44 lead into halftime. In the second half, UTEP shot better than 60 percent and were able to pull away to a 91-72 victory.
The Tigers will be continuing a stretch of the season where they are playing six of seven games on the road. TSU will be meeting Ohio State for the Kentucky for the second time each in basketball.The previous meeting with Kentucky came in the NCAA Tournament.
?We have showed some good signs, but we must play with consistency and also pick it up on the defensive end of the floor,? said head coach Nolan Richardson, III. ?We are going against a couple of the nation's premier programs as we get ready for conference play.?
TSU is 2-5 heading into their latest trip, but have displayed signs of progress since the early season.
Tiger sophomore Roshaun Bowens is leading the team in scoring at 17.6 ppg. Josh Cooperwood is at 14.0 ppg, while Garrett Richardson and Brandon Lockridge is at 10.3 ppg each.
Richardson is a preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference second team choice. Richardson has been playing at point guard much of the season, leading the team in assists 4.8 apg and in steals 2.1 per game.
The Tigers will be facing an Ohio State team which is 5-3 overall on the season. The Buckeyes are unbeaten in all five games in the Value City Arena and post a 63-8 record all-time in the game play on their home floor.
OSU placed five players in double figures in its last outing, a 96-80 win over Radford last Monday. Guard Sean Connolly led OSU with 20 points, scoring all six of his field goals from 3-point range. The Buckeyes shot 28-54 from the field for 52 percent and 30-38 from the free throw line while Radford made just 9-12 free throw opportunities.
Following the game against OSU, the Tigers will bust to Lexington to prepare for Monday's game against the Wildcats. UK, 6-2 on the season, will also be in action Saturday, playing at rival Louisville.
Following the road trip, the Tigers will return home to begin preparations for the OVC schedule. TSU will host Morehead State Thursday (Jan. 2) in the Gentry Center at 7 p.m.