Monmouth (2-3) vs. Tennessee State (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: GSU Sports Arena (8,600) -- Atlanta, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: Monmouth 1-0, Tennessee State 0-0. Away Record: Monmouth 0-1, Tennessee State 0-4. Neutral Record: Monmouth 1-1, Tennessee State 0-0. Conference Record: Monmouth 0-0, Tennessee State 1-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Monmouth Hawks and Tennessee State Tigers will get things started in the third day of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at GSU Sports Arena when the two teams collide Wednesday afternoon.
After putting a three-game losing streak to an end with a 73-71 win over South Alabama on Tuesday, Monmouth is looking for its first win streak of the season. At 2-3 the team's only other win came in the season opener when the Hawks ran by Hofstra 91-62. Last season, Monmouth won back-to-back games once outside of conference play. The Hawks will be back at home in their next matchup to face Lafayette.
Tennessee State was also involved in a game that went down to the wire. A buzzer beating shot from half court by Georgia State's Rashaad Richardson deflated the Tigers in a 59-57 loss. Taking a defeat like that is even harder to swallow considering how difficult it has been for the Tigers to get in the win column, as they are just 1-4 through the first five games. Tennessee State also gets a home game next against NAIA foe Fisk.
This will be the first meeting between these two programs.
Jessee Steele nailed three free throws with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation to lift Monmouth to a dramatic win over South Alabama on day two of the Classic. Steele was fouled on a three-point attempt with less than three seconds remaining. The game was as close as the result indicates with six ties and 19 lead changes. Andrew Nicholas was the lead scorer in the game for Monmouth with 15 points.
Monmouth had an improved night shooting against South Alabama, netting 40.6 percent of its shots which is better than the Hawks' performance overall this season (38.6 FG percentage). The Hawks have also been beat up on the boards this season with a -8.2 rebounding differential. Nicholas (14.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) is the lead scorer on the team but has taken a great deal of shots to do so as he has converted on only 33.8 percent of his field goal attempts. Dion Nesmith (10.2 ppg) has been a more efficient scorer (47.7 FG percentage) as the only other player on the team scoring in double figures. After Nicholas and Nesmith no other player on the team scores more than eight points per game led by Marcus Ware (7.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Ed Waite (6.6 ppg, 6.2 rpg) starts in the frontcourt and is the lead rebounder.
Despite shooting just 39.8 percent from the floor against Georgia State, the Tigers were still in a position to win at the end of regulation. Jordan Ciphers knocked down a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left on the clock and Deshawn Dockery put in a driving shot with three seconds remaining to give the Tigers a 57-56 lead. Robert Covington was the lead scorer for Tennessee State with 13 points.
Poor shooting didn't just doom the Tigers against Georgia State as the Tigers have shot just 35.0 percent from the floor during its 1-4 start. The top three scorers on the team area all scoring in double figures but none are shooting better than 40 percent from the floor. Covington (12.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) is a versatile forward and is the go-to option on offense. Both Kellen Thornton (10.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Patrick Miler (10.8 ppg, 6.8 apg) area each in double figures as well. Thornton is also the team's best rebounder while Miller is the primary ball handler and distributor. Miller and Covington have been opportunistic on defense as well as each is averaging at least a pair of steals per game. If there was any positive to be taken from the Georgia State loss it is the resurgence of Cyphers who hit on 4-of-9 3-point shots after connecting on only 4-of-17 through the first four games. Having a consistent 3-point threat would be a real boost for the Tigers going forward.
After coming up just short, Tennessee State will be hungry for a win on Wednesday. Monmouth has been the better offensive team this season, but if Cyphers is beginning to get a rhythm and the rest of the Tigers continue to improve an end to their lost streak might be in order.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 65, Monmouth 62
11/21 10:37:14 ET