Rivalry Monday: Tigers Visit Austin Peay
Monday, January 16, 2012
Rivalry Monday: Tigers Visit Austin Peay
Tennessee State men's basketball hopes to extend one streak, while snapping another on Monday evening, Jan. 16 when the Tigers travel to in-state rival Austin Peay. The Big Blue and Governors tip-off at 7:30 p.m. inside the Winfield Dunn Center in Clarksville.

TSU (10-9, 3-3 Ohio Valley) picked up a 52-49 win over SIUE on Saturday evening. The Tigers fought back from a 14 point deficit and used a rally in the final minute to seal the victory. 

However, TSU hopes to snap a losing skid after dropping eight straight OVC games on the road dating back to last season. TSU has not picked up a conference road win since Jan. 8, 2011 at UT Martin.

Austin Peay (5-13, 2-3 OVC) has won its' last two games including a 60-57 victory over Jacksonville State on Saturday. The Govs and Tigers are meeting for the 68th time with APSU holding the 42-25 lead in the series.

The Governors are led in scoring by TyShwan Edmondson, who is averaging 12.8 points per game. Also in double figures is Josh Terry (12.6 ppg) and Melvin Baker (11.3 ppg).

Robert Covington led the Tigers in scoring once again on Saturday, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Covington is averaging 17.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, ranking fourth and second in the OVC, respectively.

Covington and Nashville native Wil Peters have 115 made triples each in their career and are just two triples shy of reaching TSU's top-10 list.

Sophomore guard Patrick Miller is in double-figures for the Tigers, posting 11.7 points a game. He is tied with Peters with 67 assists this season.

Albert Dawson and Mark Pittman are calling the action on the Big Blue Network (102.1 FM The Light and 101.9 FM in Clarksville). Live stats and video will also be available online at TSUTigers.com.

Game Notes...

SCOUTING THE GOVERNORS: Austin Peay (5-13, 2-3 OVC) has won its' last two games including a 60-57 victory over Jacksonville State on Saturday. Before that, the Governors had lost four straight games, including a close 87-75 loss to No. 18 Murray State. The Govs are averaging 68.6 points per game and shooting 43.3 percent (449x1037) from the field. APSU is averaging 34.7 boards per game, dishing out 12.8 assists and recording 3.8 blocks in 18 games this season. The Govs have three players in double-figures: TyShwan Edmondson (12.8 ppg), Josh Terry (12.6 ppg) and Melvin Baker (11.3 ppg). Baker is the Governors' leading rebounder. John Fraley is averaging 8.8 rebounds and 9.9 points in nine games played this season.

IT'S MILLER TIME: Reigning OVC Freshman of the Year Patrick Miller is continuing his success into this season. The Chicago product is second on the team with 11.7 ppg, tied for the the team lead in assists (67) and is second in steals (27). He has reached double-digits in 14 out of the last 16 games.  He has multiple assists in 12 straight games. Against Morehead State, the sophomore grabbed a career-high eight boards to help TSU pick up a 77-72 victory.

NEW YEAR, NEW RESOLUTION: TSU has not posted a winning record in the month of January since the 2007-2008 campaign. However, that mark seems to be trending upward under third-year head coach John Cooper. And this year, the Tigers are hoping that is their New Year's resolution. The Tigers posted a 4-4 mark last season. The Tigers went 1-9 in 2009-10 and 3-6 during the 2008-09 season. The Tigers notched a 6-5 record in 2007-08 under then head coach Cy Alexander.  TSU is currently 2-2 after wins over Morehead State on Jan. 11 and SIUE on Jan. 14.

COVINGTON ON A ROLL: Junior forward Robert Covington has led Tennessee State in scoring in 15 of  19 games played this season.  On Jan. 11, Covington set a new career-high by scoring 30 points and grabbing eight boards in the win over Morehead State. He reached his 18th straight double-digit performance with 17 points and eight rebounds against SIUE. With 17 points against UTM, Covington eclipsed the 1,000 points mark becoming the first TSU player since Gerald Robinson, Jr. in 2009 to reach that milestone. He earned his 15th career double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds against EKU. He has collected 13 20-plus point performances in his career.  The junior was named to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament team earlier this season and garnered OVC Player of the Week honors on Nov. 21. On the season, Covington ranks fourth in the OVC with 17.6 ppg, is second in rebounding (7.8 per game) and third in blocks (1.2 per game).  TSU is 9-4 this season when Covington scores 17 or more points.

PLAYING IT CLOSE: This season, TSU is 6-5 in single-digit games, having played the last five contests in single margins. The 2010-11 season saw the Tigers play 18 of their 30 games, including three overtime games, in tight-nit fashion. TSU finished 9-9 in those games, 2-1 with an extra session. Ten games in a 12-game stretch from Dec. 19 (Morehead State) to Feb. 7 (Jacksonville State) all finished with less than ten points deciding the outcome.

GIVE ME A HAND:  The Tigers are just 3-7 this season when dishing out 13 or fewer assists. On the contrast, the Tigers are 7-2 when they reach 15 or more assists.  Earlier this season, the Tigers dished out 24 balls vs. LeMoyne-Owen, the most since notching 24 against Morehead State in 2005.

IT'S GREAT TO BE AT THE GENTRY: The Tigers boast a 18-3 record at the Gentry Center during the past two seasons. TSU has won five consecutive contests at home and finished with a 4-1 record against non-conference opponents at the Gentry. TSU has a six-game win streak against OVC opponents dating back to Feb. 5, 2011. The Tigers' only blemishes were losses to Belmont (2010), Murray State (2011) and MTSU (2011).  TSU has a 11.0 average scoring margin at home against opponents this season.

THE IRONMAN: WIL POWER: Nashville native and Whites Creek product Wil Peters has been instrumental in the rise of the TSU program. Peters has played in 111 games and 3,071 minutes during his four-year career. The senior has 67 assists in 19 games (3.5 apg). He has totaled 338 assists for 3.0 per game in his tenure. He set a career-high nine rebounds in the win over SIUE. During the last five games, he has dished out a team-best 19 assists.  Peters is averaging 8.0 points and 32 mpg this season.

RPI RATINGS REVEALED: The recent RPI ratings released on Monday, Jan. 9 gave TSU  a number of 250, ranking them seventh in the OVC. TSU has faced four opponents with a top-100 RPI: North Carolina 15, Saint Louis  55, Middle Tennessee 84 and Belmont 98. TSU will also play OVC-foe Murray State twice this season, which holds a 20 RPI.

GRABBING THE BOARDS: Tennessee State leads the OVC with a +3.7 rebounding margin. TSU is pulling in 34.8 rebounds off the offensive glass, while grabbing 31.1 on the defensive side. Robert Covington leads TSU with 7.8 rebounds a contest, ranking second in the conference. The Tigers are 8-3 when grabbing 35+ rebounds. TSU has out-rebounded its' opponent in nine consecutive games.

LIMITING THE OPPOSITION: When Tennessee State limits its' opposition to 45 percent or less shooting, the Tigers are a remarkable 9-1. TSU is also 8-1 when they hold opponents to less than 67 points. TSU has a 5-0 record when opponents bank less than 40 percent of their field goal attempts.

TRIPLE THREAT: The Tigers have plenty of options when it comes to 3-point shooting. The Tigers rank fourth in the OVC with a 36.7 average (137-of-373). Four players have combined for 314 career made 3-pointers: Wil Peters (115), Robert Covington (115), Kenny Moore (45) and Patrick Miller (39). Peters and Covington are just two makes away of reaching the top-10 list at TSU.

NEWCOMERS PROVIDING SCORING DEPTH: TSU newcomers have added much needed depth for the Tigers. Transfers Jordan Cyphers and Kellen Thornton are averaging 8.5 and 7.7 ppg, respectively.  Redshirt freshman M.J. Rhett is corralling an average of 4.8 rebounds per game, which is second on the team. Freshman guard Jay Harris connected on three triples and scored a season-high 12 points in the win over Morehead State.

WELCOME TO THE BLOCK PARTY: This season, when Tennessee State records four or more blocks the Tigers have notched a record of 7-1. TSU is fifth in the Ohio Valley Conference with 3.4 blocks per game. Robert Covington has a team-high 23 blocks (1.2 per game).

RHETT MAKING NOISE: Redshirt freshman forward M.J. Rhett has made some considerable noise in the past five games. He has averaged 5.4 boards per game during that span. The Hopkins, S.C. product pulled in 10 boards against Jacksonville State and broke his season-high with 11 rebounds in the victory over SIUE. Rhett has reached double-digit rebounds in three games this season.

SETTING THE MARK: Robert Covington and Wil Peters are close to reaching some career marks at Tennessee State. Covington is just 148 points away from reaching TSU's top-20 list for points scored and passing Mike Johnson's mark of 1,251 points set during the 1972-76 seasons. Covington is just 78 rebounds away from reaching 13th on the all-time list. The junior has corralled 58 1 rebounds in 81 career games played.  Peters is 140 points away from reaching 1,000 points in his career. Peters and Covington are two made triples shy of reaching 10th on the all-time list. Peters is also 111 assists shy of becoming the all-time assists leader in school history.