Tennessee-Martin (4-24) at Southeastern Louisiana (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Center (7,500) -- Hammond, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: Tennessee-Martin 2-11, SE Louisiana 9-3. Away Record: Tennessee-Martin 2-13, SE Louisiana 0-12. Neutral Record: Tennessee- Martin 0-0, SE Louisiana 0-0. Conference Record: Tennessee-Martin 0-14, SE Louisiana 3-9. Series Record: SE Louisiana leads, 7-3.
GAMES NOTES: Fresh of its first win in two months, the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will match up with the Southeastern Louisiana Lions in a BracketBuster battle at University Center.
The Skyhawks had lost 15 straight games since a win against Division II Bethel-Tennessee on December 13th. On Tuesday the streak finally came to an end as Tennessee-Martin got in the win column with a 76-75 win in overtime over Kennesaw State. The game came out of conference play as the Skyhawks are still winless in the Ohio Valley Conference and just 4-24 overall. Tennessee- Martin will return to conference play with a matchup against Austin Peay next.
Southeastern Louisiana has had a bit more success this season but is still struggling. The Lions took another loss on Wednesday against Lamar and have now been defeated in five of their last six games. Southeastern Louisiana is now just 3-9 in the Southland Conference while 9-15 overall. The Lions also get back to league action in their next matchup when they face Texas State.
Southeastern Louisiana does have the benefit of leading the all-time series between these schools with a 7-3 mark against Tennessee-Martin. This will be the first time these squads have met since 1979 when both were members of the Gulf South Conference.
Tennessee-Martin trailed 42-36 t intermission against Kennesaw State on Tuesday but rallied in the second half thanks in part to Myles Taylor who scored a career-high 31 points, while shooting 9-of-17 from the floor and 13- of-14 from the free-throw line, as the Skyhawks survived in overtime.
Taylor's performance continues a solid rookie campaign for the freshman. Taylor is netting 13.7 points per game, while leading the team on the glass with 5.2 rebounds per game. Sophomore swingman Mike Liabo (14.7 ppg. 4.1 rpg) is the team's leading scorer and only other player averaging in double figures this season. With only two consistent scorers, Tennessee-Martin has not been a prolific offense scoring only 63.6 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting. Compounding the offensive struggles is the team's porous defense that surrenders 75.0 points per game, allowing opponents to shoot 50.6 percent from the floor, the nation's worst mark.
Southeastern Louisiana did not produce well enough on offense in the 70-54 loss to Lamar on Wednesday. The Lions only hit on 35.7 percent from the floor and missed all 11 attempts from three-point range in the losing effort.
The Lions have been a team that often struggles offensively as they score just 59.1 points per game, while shooting only 40.3 percent from the field. Unlike the Skyhawks, Southeastern Louisiana has been able to stiffen on defense allowing just 62.8 points per game to its opponents for a -3.7 scoring differential. With the loss of senior guard Brandon Fortenberry (17.6 ppg), out since early December with a foot injury, the Lions have struggled to find a dominant scorer. Junior forward Roosevelt Johnson (10.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg) is the only player that is averaging in double figures this season and is coming off an impressive performance against Lamar in which he scored 18 points and brought down 12 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jeremy Campbell (7.7 ppg) has begun to assert himself, scoring in double figures in 10 of the 12 games since losing Fortenberry.
Neither of these squads can lay claim to being superior at the offensive end, but Southeastern Louisiana's ability to limit its opponents by playing solid defense should give the home team the edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SE Louisiana 65, Tennessee-Martin 60
02/18 10:41:12 ET