TSU Opens Three Game Homestand with Magicians
Monday, December 19, 2011
TSU Opens Three Game Homestand with Magicians
For the first time this season, the Tennessee State University men's basketball team opens up a three game home stretch when LeMoyne-Owen visits on Monday evening. The Tigers and Magicians square off in a 7 p.m. tip at the Gentry Center.

TSU (5-6) is riding a two-game win streak after picking up a solid, 59-55, road victory at Delaware State, last Saturday, Dec. 17. The Tigers made a second half comeback to pick up the victory. Robert Covington once again led TSU with 24 points and 10 boards, notching his third double-double this season and his 13th of his career.

Covington has scored double-digits in 10 straight games and marked up his 51st double-figure game against the Hornets. The junior forward is averaging a team-best 16.7 points per game, while grabbing 7.7 rebounds a game. Covington is 47 points shy of reaching 1,000 points in his career.

Sophomore guard Patrick Miller has been a mainstay this season. He earned his eighth consecutive game of double-figures with 11 points at DSU. Miller is averaging 11.3 points per game and leads TSU with 36 assists and 20 steals.

Through 11 games, TSU is shooting 39.7 percent (241x607) from the field and 34.6 percent (74x214) behind the arch.

The Tigers are one of the top blocking teams in the OVC, posting 3.5 blocks per game. When the Big Blue swats away four-plus shots a game, the Tigers are 4-1. Covington leads TSU with 12 blocks, nine of which were from the past five games. Sophomore Michael Green is second on the squad with 11 deflections.

LeMoyne-Owen (4-1, 4-0 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic) is on a four-game winning streak after dropping their season opener at Rust. The Tigers hold a 6-3 advantage in the series, winning the last four games. Last year, TSU drubbed the Magicians 84-48 as Miller posted a game-high 14 points.

Calvin Stoudemire, a senior forward, leads the Magicians with 13.8 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. He also is the team's top shooter, banking 55 percent of his shot attempts.

Monday's game is broadcasted through the Big Blue Radio Network on 102.1 FM The Light and 101.9 FM in Clarksville. Albert Dawson will call the action, as Mark Pittman has the commentary. Live Stats and video is available through TSUTigers.com.

As part of TSU's Holiday Hoops promotion, fans that purchase a ticket to Monday's game will automatically receive a ticket for the Lady Tigers basketball game versus Florida A&M on Wednesday evening.

Game Notes

SCOUTING THE MAGICIANS: After dropping their first game of the season at Rust, LeMoyne-Owen has won four consecutive games for a perfect record in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Magicians picked up a 70-66 win over Miles College on Dec. 15 with forward Calvin Stoudemire notching a team-best 18 points. Stoudemire leads LOC with 13.8 ppg and 7.0 rpg. Two others are averaging double-digits: Teshawn Byron (13.4 ppg) and Chris Brown (11.8 ppg). LOC has averaged 71.2 ppg through five contests. They are shooting 46 percent (132-of-286) from the field, while hitting only 25 percent (19-of-75) behind the arch. The Magicians are pulling in 36.6 boards a game, but also turning the ball over 19.2 times a contest.

AVOIDING THE SOPHOMORE JINX: There's no such thing as the sophomore slump for sophomore Patrick Miller. The Chicago product is second on the team with 11.3 ppg and leads the Tigers with 36 assists. He has a team-best 20 steals and is shooting 36 percent (37-of-102) from the floor. The Chicago product has reached double-digits in eight consecutive games.  Also, Miller has made three-plus field goals in eight straight games.

REMEMBER DECEMBER: TSU hopes to repeat what it did a year ago. December 2010 marked one of the best months for the Tigers in recent memory. Tennessee State posted a 5-2 record during that span, including a five-game win streak that stretched from Dec. 4 until Dec. 21. TSU's only losses during that month were at Eastern Illinois (67-68) and at Middle Tennessee (58-65). The Tigers were a perfect 3-0 at the Gentry Center last December. This season, the Tigers are 2-2 in the month of December. If the Tigers win out in the remaining games before the break, it will be the first time the Tigers have claimed a winning record at that point since 1994.

PUT YOUR TRUST IN COVINGTON: Junior forward Robert Covington has led Tennessee State in scoring in seven of 11 games played this season. The Bellwood, Ill., product managed his 13th career double-double with 24 points and 10 boards at Delaware State. The double-digit point performance was his 10th consecutive this season and the 51st in his three-plus year career. Covington has pulled in seven or more boards in the last six games. The junior was named to the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational All-Tournament team after averaging 17.3 points and 6.5 rebounds.  Covington garnered OVC Player of the Week honors on Nov. 21 after posting 19.0 points and 9.7 rebounds in three games.  Covington has collected 11 20-plus point performances in his career. He is just 47 points away from reaching the 1,000 points club at TSU. On the season, Covington ranks fourth in the OVC with 16.7 ppg and is second in rebounding with 7.7 a contest. 

PLAYING IT CLOSE: This season, TSU is 4-2 in single-digit margins after picking up a 65-57 win over Central Michigan on Dec. 10 and a 59-55 victory at Delaware State on Dec. 17. 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.

LENDING A HAND: Tennessee State is 4-2 this season when reaching double-figures in assists. In four wins this season, the Tigers have dished out at least 11 assists. The highest for the Tigers was 19 in a loss at then ranked No. 1 North Carolina.

HOME SWEET HOME: Last season, Tennessee State boasted a stout 11-2 record inside the Gentry Center. The Tigers' five-game win streak at home was snapped with a 77-62 loss to Middle Tennessee on Thursday, Dec. 1. However, TSU regained momentum with a 65-57 win over CMU, expanding their record to 13-3 during the past two seasons.

WIL POWER: Nashville native and Whites Creek product Wil Peters has been instrumental in the rise of the TSU program the past four seasons. The stingy point guard has inked 83 steals and dished out 299 assists during his lofty career. Last season, he ranked in the top-5 in the OVC with 125 assists in 30 games played. So far this season, Peters has 28 assists in 11 games. He is averaging 8.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per game this year. Peters is sixth in the OVC, averaging 33 minutes played a game.

SATURDAY DELIGHT: Tennessee State is 3-0 this season in Saturday contests. The Tigers have clinched victories over Morgan State, Central Michigan and Delaware State during Saturday contests so far this season.

HERE'S A TIP: TSU's fortune has been pretty telling this season when the Tigers have won the opening tip. Tennessee State holds a 4-2 edge when they manage to grab the ball in the opening possession, compared to just 1-4 when losing the tip to an opponent.

TAKE FIVE: When Tennessee State holds a lead under five minutes, they rarely give it up. TSU is 4-1 this season when leading with five or less posted on the clock. In contrast, the Tigers are just 1-5 when trailing with less than five minutes to go. The Tigers are a perfect 5-0 when the clock is under a minute.

NO FREE GIFTS FOR YOU: During the past few games, Tennessee State has limited turning the ball over to the opposition.  The Tigers have committed less than 13 turnovers in six out of the last eight games. TSU's streak of not giving up 15+ turnovers was snapped with 16 against Central Michigan on Dec. 10.

REJECTING THE SHOTS: The Tigers are ranked second in the OVC with 3.5 blocked shots in 11 games. TSU has racked up three-plus deflections in six out of the last seven games. Tennessee State is 4-1 when notching four or more blocks this season. Leading the way for TSU is Robert Covington with 12 blocks. The junior has recorded nine of those 12 during the past five games. Michael Green is second on the team with 11 passes swatted away.

NEWCOMERS MAKING A DIFFERENCE: The trifecta of TSU newcomers have been very important during the first third of the season on for the Tigers. Transfers Kellen Thornton and Jordan Cyphers are averaging 8.1 and 7.1 ppg, respectively.  Meanwhile, redshirt freshman M.J. Rhett has pulled five or more rebounds in four games this season. Rhett is corralling an average of 4.4 rebounds per game, which is second on the team.