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2011 OVC Basketball Tournament: Tigers meet Tennessee Martin in the first round
Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee State University Tigers will open the 2011 Ohio Valley Conference Basketball Tournament in the first round against Tennessee at Martin.

The match-up will take place on Wednesday, March 2, at the Municipal Auditorium with tip-off at 6 p.m.

The Tigers (14-15, 10-8) enter the tournament as the 5th seed for the first time in the program's history and their highest seed since they were ranked No. 2 in 1996.

In the OVC Tournament, TSU posts a 10-20 record. Since joining the league in 1986, the Tigers missed the tournament once in 2003 but will make their eighth consecutive appearance since. Last year, they dropped an, 84-51, first-round decision to the defending 2010 OVC Tournament Champions and this season's regular season winners, Murray State. RECAP...

However, inside the Municipal Auditorium they are 5-4 and have made it to the finals twice inside the building. The Tigers captured their second tournament crown in 1994 inside the auditorium.  In 2008, they made it to the championship game but lost to Austin Peay. That was the last time TSU advanced past the first round.

Despite leading the Skyhawks in the all-time series, 29-21, including sweeps of the regular season the last two years, this will be the teams' first meeting in the OVC Tournament.

In first meetings versus opponents in the OVC Tournament, TSU is 3-5, and holds a 4-16 record in first round match-ups.

Earlier this year, TSU defeated UTM, 67-64, at the Elam Center and, 56-47, at home in the Gentry Center. Robert Covington finished with a double-double in both games.



At the end of the 2010-11 regular season, TSU finished the year riding a three-game win streak with an overall home record of 11-2, 8-1 in the conference inside the Gentry Center. TSU will play on neutral ground for the first time this year. Since 2002, TSU is 6-4 at neutral sites.

The Big Blue's offense is triggered by Kenny Moore (14.4 ppg), Robert Covington (13.5 ppg / 7.6 rpg), Wil Peters (10.5 ppg / 4.2 apg) and Patrick Miller (11.4 ppg).

Miller was named the 2011 OVC Freshman of the Year and joined Moore on the All-OVC Newcomer Team. Moore was also named to the All-OVC Second Team with Covington.

The Skyhawks (11-20, 6-12 OVC) enter the tournament as the 8th seed after a loss to close out the year. UTM has won three of their last six games. They return to the tourney after a one-year absence losing in the semi-round in 2009. The Skyhawks are 2-7 all-time in the OVC Tournament.

UTM's offense posts five players in double figures which include: Benzor Simmons (12.0 ppg), Reuben Clayon (11.7 ppg), Mike Liabo (11.3 ppg), Terence Smith (10.9 ppg) and Troy King (10.1 ppg).

The winner of the match-up will tip-off against Tennessee Tech in the quarter-finals on Thursday, March 3, at 6 p.m.