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Wednesday, January 7, 2004
NASHVILLE --- Tennessee State men's and women's basketball teams will open the Ohio Valley Conference portion of their schedules Thursday evening against first-year conference member Jacksonville State. The women's game begins the doubleheader action at 5:45 p.m. with the men's game to follow. The Tiger men's team will be facing a Jacksonville State team that already has two conference tilts under its belt. The Gamecocks are 6-6 overall, but dropped their OVC opener to defending league champion Austin Peay (76-58) and then a road contest at rival Samford (58-48) on Tuesday night. TSU will be returning to action for the first time since a 74-70 loss to Portland State in the non-conference finale on Dec. 30. For TSU, the game was too familiar as the Tigers lost a second half lead in suffering the defeat. The Tigers will also welcome back first-year head coach Cy Alexander to the sidelines. Alexander missed the Portland State game due to illness but has since returned to practice to lead the team in its preparation for the OVC opener. Among the areas the Tigers are seeking improvement is on the defensive end and in the rebounding department. Opponents are converting 53 percent from the floor and holding an 11.5 rebounding advantage. On the offensive end, freshman guard Bruce Price leads TSU in scoring at 16.2 points a game. Price already has a pair of OVC "Rookie of the Week" honors this season. The TSU Lady Tigers and their first-year head coach Sharon Allen led in the second half in their final non-conference matchup at Birmingham Southern on Monday, but the hosts escaped with a 62-54 win. Kisha Stewart posted a career-high 21 points in the contest for the Lady Tigers. Jax State (6-4, 1-0) won its OVC debut, edging Samford (70-68) in Birmingham on Tuesday night. ###