|February 23, 2019||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||EIU||TSUMBB|
|FG Percentage||.340 (18-53)||.411 (23-56)|
|3P FG Percentage||.280 (7-25)||.367 (11-30)|
|FT Percentage||.739 (17-23)||.750 (18-24)|
FITZPATRICK-DORSEY - 3
CHARLES - 1
TENNESSEE STATE MEN’S BASKETBALL (8-19, 5-10 OVC)
vs Eastern Illinois (14-14, 7-8 OVC)
Date: Saturday, Feb. 23
Time: 7:30 p.m. CT
Location: Gentry Center - Nashville, Tenn.
Live Video: ESPN+ || Joe Leadingham on the call
Radio: 102.1 The Ville || Greg Pogue (pbp) and Albert Dawson (analysis) on the call
Live Stats: Statbroadcast
Social Media Updates: Twitter || #BigBlueRising
OPENING TIP: The Tennessee State men’s basketball team will celebrate its seniors, Armani Chaney and Stokley Chaffee, Jr. Saturday night as the Tigers play their final game in the Gentry Center this season versus Eastern Illinois. Big Blue also hosts fans for its annual Courtside Dining. Tip off is set for 7:30 p.m.
ABOUT THE OPPONENT: Eastern Illinois is on a current two-game losing streak, most recently falling to Belmont by 41 on Thursday, granting the Bruins' head coach Rick Byrd his 800th career win. Three Panthers average double-digits, led by Josiah Wallace with 14.8 points. EIU's Ben Harvey averages 10.1 points and 3.9 boards per game. EIU has gone into overtime four times this season, twice in conference play.
ALL-TIME SERIES: The Tigers lead the all-time series versus the Panthers, 29-24, and are 12-8 when playing in Nashvillle. In the last four seasons, the Tigers are split 3-3 with the Panthers, 1-2 in the Gentry Center, with one loss coming in overtime.
LAST TIME OUT: An inefficient and low energy first half put the Tigers in a 14-point hole going into the break.
Junior point guard Michael Littlejohn came out of the locker room with a layup to start the half. As the Tigers closed the gap to single digits, Gentry’s volume increased ten-fold.
Five Tigers moved into double-figures led by Donte Fitzpatrick-Dorsey who finished the night with a game-high 23 points, rounded out with two free-throws to increase the Tigers’ lead to two with less than 30 seconds left on the clock. A Cougar three-point shot closed the night, leaving the Tigers heartbroken after outscoring SIUE, 51-38 in the second half.
LAST MATCHUP WITH EASTERN ILLINOIS: During the 2017-18 season, TSU and EIU met three times, Big Blue leading the series, 2-1. During the regular season, TSU defeated the Panthers at both meetings, but the Panthers came back to defeat TSU 73-71 in the first round of the OVC Tournament.
Former Tiger turned pro, Delano Spencer scored a team-high 17 points to lead the sixth-seeded Tigers.
Christian Mekowulu posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Armani Chaney finished with 15 points and six assists on the night.
TSU nearly overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half, closing the gap to two points in the final minute. The Panthers, who shot 31 free throws, shot 46.9 percent (23-of-49) from the floor and held on down the stretch.
Spencer scored the game’s final five points, but the comeback fell two points short.
NATIONALLY RANKED: The Tigers are ranked in the top 100 in three categories:
- 47 in turnovers forced
- 53 in total steals
- 69 in steals per game
UP NEXT: The Tigers continue their fight for an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament spot as they hit the road for the final week of league play. On its first stop, the TSU men will head to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to play Southeast Missouri, Thursday, Feb. 28. T