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Monday, December 29, 2003
NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State Tigers will host the Portland State Vikings in the final non-conference game on Tuesday (Dec. 30) before Ohio Valley Conference play tips off next week. Game time is 7 p.m. in the Gentry Center. First-year Head Coach Cy Alexander's troops took a brief holiday break before returning to campus to begin preparations for a much-improved Viking squad. The Tigers concluded a six-game December road swing at Chattanooga last Monday night. For the second time in as many meetings against a team expected to contend for the Southern Conference crown, the Tigers held a halftime lead only to see the Mocs rally in the second half for a victory, this time 74-70. TSU will be looking for consistency throughout the game. First-year Head Coach Cy Alexander is looking for his team to avoid lapses that have been costly throughout the non-conference slate. Junior forward Roshaun Bowens averages 16.4 points a game to lead TSU. Freshman guard Bruce Price is as 15.4 ppg while senior Garrett Richardson contributes 12.0 ppg. One area that the Tigers will look for much improvement is on the defensive end and the rebounding. Opponents are converting 53 percent from the field and holding almost a 12-rebound advantage over the Tigers after 10 games. Portland State, a member of the Big Sky Conference, will play the middle game in a nine-day road trip from the Pacific Coast. PSU began the journey with an 80-61 win at Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday. The Vikings shot a season-best 60 percent from the floor and improved their record to 5-6. The win snapped a 21-game road losing streak for PSU. Following the Portland State game, TSU will have eight days to prepare for its Ohio Valley Conference newcomers Jacksonville State. OVC newcomers Jacksonville State (Jan. 8) and Samford (Jan. 10) will be the first two conference games for the Tigers.