Tennessee State (12-8) at Eastern Kentucky (15-4)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television:
None. Home Record: TSU 8-0, EKU 10-0. Away Record: TSU 3-7, EKU 5-4. Neutral
Record: TSU 1-1, EKU 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 6-1, EKU 5-1. Series Record:
Eastern Kentucky leads, 26-23.
GAME NOTES: Two of the top teams in the Ohio Valley Conference are set to
clash as the Tennessee State Tigers head to McBrayer Arena to face the Eastern
The Tigers are a half-game ahead of the Colonels in the East Division
standings with a 6-1 OVC record as both suffered a setback to the first place
Belmont Bruins. This will be the 50th encounter between these schools on the
hardwood. EKU holds a 29-23 all-time series lead.
TSU had its seven-game winning streak snapped by the Bruins on Saturday as
they fell, 78-66. The loss dropped to a 12-8 overall record, but the team has
to be pleased with its standing considering star forward Robert Covington has
been out since late December. In his absence, senior forward Kellen Thornton
has stepped up his play and carries season averages of 14.8 points and 8.0
boards per tilt. The 6-foot-7 Illinois State transfer registered his sixth
double- double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds at Belmont. Jordan
Cyphers poured in a game-high 21 points while junior Patrick Miller was just
two points shy of TSU's first triple double in at least ten years, as the
guard from Chicago tallied career-highs in rebounds (10) and assists (12).
Miller currently leads the OVC in assists per game with 5.5 and his 1.7 steal
per game average ranks him second. The guard is also second in the conference
in minutes played with 691. TSU is netting 67.8 ppg, and it is fifth in the
OVC in scoring defense at 65.2 points a game. The Tigers will need to bounce
back from a poor defensive outing, as they allowed Belmont to connect on 11-
of-25 from beyond the arc.
The Colonels bounced back from their loss to Belmont with a 73-62 victory over
Jacksonville State on Saturday that lifted them to a 15-4 overall record. They
now return home where they are a perfect 10-0 on the year. Coach Jeff
Neubauer's squad has shown a balanced effort as it ranks third in the
conference in both scoring offense (71.9 ppg) and scoring defense (64.3 ppg).
Senior guard Mike DiNunno and junior guard Glenn Cosey are both big time
contributors on the offensive end with 15.5 and 15.0 ppg, respectively.
However, Cosey has not played in four games due to a broken finger and he is
listed as doubtful for this contest.
Redshirt sophomore Corey Walden set a new career-high with 28 points at
Jacksonville State and was chosen as the OVC Co-Newcomer of the Week on
Monday. For the second time in as many games, Mike DiNunno scored a season-
high 24 points. The Colonels limited the Gamecocks to 31 percent shooting from
the field, marking the lowest shooting percentage by an opponent this season.
Jacksonville State's 10 turnovers were the fewest by an Eastern Kentucky
opponent this season. Before the game at JSU, EKU's previous four opponents
averaged 19.3 turnovers per game.
Turnovers will be hard to come by with Miller running the show for TSU, but
DiNunno has been the comeback player of the year in all of college basketball
this season. The senior guard transferred to EKU from a sinking Northern
Illinois program after having difficulty finding a program interested in his
services. His impact on the Colonels' success is undeniable and they should be
able to get past TSU as long as they contain Thornton.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 73, Tennessee State 67
01/24 10:38:44 ET