Tennessee State (14-10) at Murray State (17-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFSB Center (8,600) -- Murray, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 9-0. Murray State 8-2. Away Record: TSU 4-9, Murray State 7-2. Neutral Record: TSU 1-1, Murray State 2-1. Conference Record: TSU 8-3, Murray State 8-2. Series Record: Murray State leads, 47-16.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off their biggest win of the season the Murray State Racers face another tough Ohio Valley Conference test against the Tennessee State Tigers at the CFSB Center on Saturday night.
It certainly wasn't an easy win but Tennessee State was able to top Austin Peay on Thursday, 88-82, in overtime. With the win the Tigers improved to 14-10 overall and 8-3 in OVC action. That has the Tigers in sole possession of third place in the league standings and just a half game behind the Racers. The win against Austin Peay was just the fourth in 13 road trips for Tennessee State, which will host conference-leading Belmont next.
It was against that red-hot Belmont team that Murray State was able to pull out a 79-74 win against on Thursday. The victory pushed the Racers to a 17-5 overall mark and to 8-2 in league play which has them a game and a half behind the Bruins for the top spot in the OVC. The Racers have certainly been formidable at home this season with a mark of 8-2 at the CFSB Center where they have won their last four matchups. A three-game road trip awaits Murray State after this game.
This is the only scheduled meeting between these squads this season. Historically speaking this hasn't been much of a rivalry, as Murray State leads the all-time series, 47-16, with wins in 10 of the last 11 meetings.
Leading by five points with four minutes remaining, the Tigers allowed the Governors to go on a 9-2 spurt to take a 67-65 lead with four seconds remaining. However, Kellen Thornton tapped the ball in off a missed 3-point attempt from Jordan Cyphers just before the buzzer sounded to send the game to overtime. The Tigers scored the first seven points in the extra session and never looked back.
Patrick Miller (14.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.3 apg) had another fine game against Austin Peay as he poured in 25 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Though not one of the premier scorers in the OVC, the 6-foot-1 guard has scored at least 17 points in six of the last seven games, while finding time to lead the league in assists. Thornton (14.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) is actually the leading scorer on the squad but has been held out of double figures in two of the last four games. Cyphers (12.1 ppg) provides a solid third option. Overall, Tennessee State is a pedestrian offensive team in comparison to the rest of the OVC, scoring 69.3 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting.
The Racers ran out to a 36-26 lead at halftime against Belmont and then held on in the final 20 minutes to earn a huge win. The Racers shot 44.4 percent from the field overall and knocked in 10 3-pointers in the contest. Murray State also willed itself to the free-throw line all game with a 21-9 edge in points from the charity stripe.
Though he hasn't garnered the headlines like he did last season, Isaiah Canaan (21.1 ppg, 4.1 apg) has still been sensational in the Racers' backcourt. The senior guard leads the OVC in scoring after pouring in 26 points against Belmont, while also ranking among the top 10 scorers nationally. The Racers employ a guard-heavy rotation of which Stacy Wilson (13.4 ppg) has been the next best option behind Canaan. That's not to say that the Racers don't have skill on the interior, as double-double machine Ed Daniel (13.7 ppg, 10.8 rpg) has been a strong presence inside. The Racers are benefiting from a nearly +8 scoring margin, by netting 72.5 points per game, while allowing just 64.6 points per game.
Murray State has to be careful not to let up against Tennessee State, which is another team still gunning for the OVC throne. With Canaan on the floor that is unlikely to happen.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 76, Tennessee State 68
02/09 10:33:25 ET