SIU Edwardsville (8-12) at Tennessee-Martin (6-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Elam Center (4,800) -- Martin, Tennessee. Television: FSN-MW, FSN-S. Home Record: SIUED 7-3. UTM 5-6. Away Record: SIUED 1-9, UTM 1-11. Neutral Record: SIUED 0-0, UTM 0-0. Conference Record: SIUED 4-6, UTM 3-8. Series Record: Tied, 4-4.
GAMES NOTES: The SIU Edwardsville Cougars will be out for revenge in an Ohio Valley Conference rematch with the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks at the Elam Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars have been unable to get into a rhythm of late as they have traded wins and losses over their last six games. The most recent decision was a 76-67 loss to Southeast Missouri State in the first half of this two-game road trip. SIUED is now 8-12 overall and at 4-6 in league play, sitting in seventh place in the OVC standings. The road has been a hostile place for the Cougars who have one win in their 10 trips away from the Vadalabene Center.
The Skyhawks had their longest winning streak of two games snapped in emphatic fashion on Thursday as they were routed by Eastern Illinois, 93-65. That was the second of a four-game homestand for the Skyhawks who are 5-6 at home, just 6-17 overall and 3-8 in league play. In the final contest during this homestand the Skyhawks will host Southeast Missouri State before playing its final three OVC contests on the road.
In the first meeting this season Tennessee Martin earned its lone road victory with a 65-62 triumph against the Cougars. With the win the Skyhawks tied up the all-time series at four games apiece.
By shooting just 38.5 percent from the field, SIUED was unable to keep up with Southeast Missouri State. It wasn't just bad shot selection that kept the Cougars from achieving better success as they had 10 shots blocked in the contest. Jerome Jones did all he could in the game, hitting 11-of-21 shots, 6- of-10 came from 3-point range, finishing with a game-high 31 points.
Jones (16.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) has been a lone bright spot on a team starving for offense. The 6-foot-5 forward has scored in double figures in nine straight games and is currently among the top 10 scorers in the conference. The offensive options for the Cougars are limited beyond Jones, with Kris Davis (10.6 ppg) and Mark Yelovich (10.9 ppg) the only other players scoring in double figures and two of just four putting in more than seven points per game. Even with Jones, the Cougars are the second-worst scoring team in the OVC at 62.8 points per game.
Despite shooting a solid 45.1 percent from the field, Tennessee-Martin's efforts on the defensive end kept it down against Eastern Illinois. The Skyhawks allowed the Panthers to nail 65.2 percent of their shots from the floor, including 12-of-19 from beyond the arc in the 28-point defeat.
Poor defensive showings have been the norm for Tennessee-Martin on the campaign. The Skyhawks are being lit up for 75.5 points per game, while teams net 45.3 percent of their shots from the floor. In four of the last seven games the Skyhawks have allowed teams to reach at least 80 points. By scoring just 65.5 points per game on the offensive end the Skyhawks are suffering from an even -10 point differential. Like Jones on SIUED, Myles Taylor (16.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg) has looked like the only player on the floor for the Skyhawks at times this season. The 6-foot-7 forward isn't completely alone though, with Mike Liabo (12.7 ppg) adding limited depth.
The battle between Taylor and Jones is what to watch for in this contest. On his home floor, Taylor should get the upper hand once again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee-Martin 70, SIU Edwardsville 66
02/09 10:33:16 ET