GAME NOTES: The Cougars of SIU Edwardsville wrap up a three-game homestand on
Wednesday night, as they welcome the Tennessee State Tigers to the Vadalabene
Center for an Ohio Valley Conference clash.
TSU captured an impressive 80-69 home win over Belmont on Feb. 14 to improve
to 15-11 this season, including 9-4 in the OVC. The Tigers have won three of
their last four games, but while they have been spectacular on their home
floor (10-0), success has not come nearly as easily on the road, where they
have dropped 10-of-14 bouts.
Meanwhile, SIUE has been trending in the opposite direction, having lost three
of its last four following a disappointing 83-71 defeat versus Austin Peay
this past Saturday. The Cougars have failed to stand out in the OVC this
season at 9-14 overall and 5-8 in league play, but they have won two-thirds of
their home games (8-4).
These two teams have met just once previously, with TSU winning the inaugural
matchup last season, 52-49.
Despite trailing Belmont by 10 points early in the first half, Tennessee State
finished the period on a 24-10 run to take a lead into intermission and it
never surrendered that advantage in the second half on its way to the 11-point
upset victory. The Tigers shot nearly 53 percent from the field, paced by an
outstanding effort from Robert Covington (7-of-9 from the floor, 8-of-8 from
the foul line for 25 points) who added seven rebounds, three steals and two
blocks to his impressive stat line. Kellen Thornton logged a double-double
with 18 points and 10 boards, while Patrick Miller (15 points, six rebounds)
and Jordan Cyphers (10 points) were also productive. Covington missed 10 games
earlier this season with an injury and his return to the court has been
invaluable, as he is posting 17.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg and more than a block and a
steal per contest. Rounding out perhaps the best forward duo in the OVC is
Thornton, who nets 14.4 ppg on 53.1 percent field goal efficiency to go with
8.1 rpg. Miller has been a stellar floor general with 14.2 ppg, 5.3 apg and
1.7 spg, while Cyphers chips in 11.8 ppg for a team that generates just shy of
SIUE shot a modest 42.1 percent from the floor in its latest outing, but its
biggest problem in the 12-point setback was its defensive stand, as it allowed
Austin Peay to connect on greater than 56 percent of its field goal attempts.
Mark Yelovich turned in a solid performance in defeat, netting 21 points. Tim
Johnson added 17 points, while Kris Davis and Michael Messer scored 12 and 11
points, respectively. It's easy to see why the Cougars have endured such a
disappointing season when analyzing the numbers, as they score just 63.4 ppg
while surrendering 66.5 ppg. Their offensive production has taken a huge hit
lately with the subtraction of Jerome Jones (16.2 ppg), who will miss the
remainder of the season as he serves a suspension for disciplinary reasons.
Without Jones, SIUE will need to rely more on the efforts of Yelovich (11.3
ppg, 5.8 rpg), Davis (10.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Messer (9.3 ppg).
Even with SIUE's strong home record, it showed last weekend that it is
vulnerable without its star player on the court. TSU is back at full strength
attempting to make a late-season push, and it should be able to capture a
satisfying road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 75, SIU Edwardsville 66
02/20 11:03:32 ET
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