Eastern Kentucky (13-6) at Tennessee State (2-19)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 23, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Center (10,600) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: OVC Digital Network. Home Record: Eastern Kentucky 7-1, Tennessee State 2-6. Away Record: Eastern Kentucky 5-4, Tennessee State 0-11. Neutral Record: Eastern Kentucky 1-1, Tennessee State 0-2. Conference Record: Eastern Kentucky 4-2, Tennessee State 1-6. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 28-25.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels look to extend a three-game win streak as they travel to face the struggling Tennessee State Tigers in Ohio Valley Conference play at Gentry Center.
Eastern Kentucky has rebounded from a 1-2 start in OVC play and is currently sitting on a 4-2 conference record, just a game behind OVC East Division leader Belmont. The Colonels took down Jacksonville State, 60-56, in a close- call conference matchup Saturday.
Since beating Jacksonville State earlier this month, Tennessee State has lost five consecutive games, falling to 1-6 in OVC action and 2-19 on the season. The Tigers occupy the bottom spot in the OVC East Division, but can still turn their season around with a string of (many) wins.
In the all-time series, Eastern Kentucky holds a slight edge, 28-25, over Tennessee State. The Tigers have won two of the last three meetings, however, both of which went to overtime.
Neither team really pulled away from the other in Eastern Kentucky's win over Jacksonville State, as the largest lead in the game was six points when Jacksonville State held a 9-3 advantage early in the first half. Eric Stutz scored a season-high 20 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor, and went a perfect 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. He narrowly missed out on a double- double with nine rebounds. Glenn Cosey poured in 17 points, and Tarius Johnson netted 12 in the win.
Cosey has a healthy scoring lead on the Colonels this season, netting 18.6 ppg on 40.6 percent shooting from the floor. Corey Walden, who is second on the team in scoring, is behind by over 5 points, averaging 13.3 ppg this year. Marcus Lewis and Orlando Williams are third and fourth in scoring, averaging 10.9 and 10.3 ppg, respectively. Stutz leads the team with a 4.4 rpg average, while Cosey tops the squad in assists with 86 total. The Colonels score an average of 77.4 ppg.
Tennessee State outscored Belmont by eight points in the second half of their OVC bout Saturday, but the Bruins had built up enough of a lead in the first half that they still earned the victory. Belmont took a 41-19 lead into the locker rooms at the half. Patrick Miller led the Tigers with 21 points in the contest, also grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out five assists. M.J. Rhett scored 13 points and Kennedy Eubanks added 10.
Miller tops the team in scoring, and is among the OVC leaders this season in the category, with 22.1 ppg on 42.2 percent shooting from the floor. Miller also tops the squad with 86 assists on the year and 38 total steals. Rhett is the only other Tiger to average double figures, netting 10.5 ppg. His 9.6 rpg is a team-high. The Tigers are scoring 67.9 ppg this season, but give up 76.3 ppg to their opponents.
Tennessee State needs a small miracle to turn its season around, but with nine conference games remaining, it's not totally out of the question. Going up against a solid EKU offense though, could be perilous for the Tigers.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 77, Tennessee State 64
01/23 10:16:53 ET