Tennessee-Martin (4-12) at Tennessee State (9-7)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 10, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Center (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee.
Television: None. Home Record: UTM 4-4, TSU 5-0. Away Record: UTM 0-8, TSU
3-6. Neutral Record: UTM 0-0, TSU 1-1. Conference Record: UTM 1-3, TSU 3-0.
Series Record:Tennessee State leads, 30-20.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee State Tigers look to stay perfect at the Gentry
Center as they welcome the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks to Nashville for an Ohio
Valley Conference tilt.
UTM snapped a seven-game losing streak with a thrilling 76-74 overtime victory
over Austin Peay on Saturday, which also served as the team's first OVC win of
the season after an 0-3 start to league play. Coach Jason James has his work
cut out for him, as the Skyhawks are 4-12 overall due to their insufficient
abilities on the defensive end of the floor. They are second to last in the
OVC in scoring defense with an allowed average of 74.4 points per contest,
which is greater than their own scoring output of 67.1 ppg.
The Tigers picked up their fourth consecutive victory on Saturday as they
downed Jacksonville State, 66-57, on the road to remain unbeaten in OVC play.
TSU came into league action with a sub-.500 record, but its three wins over
conference rivals improved it to 9-7 overall, which includes its perfect 5-0
mark at home. Coach Travis Williams has been impressive in his first season at
the helm of the program, especially considering all of his squad's four
triumphs during the current streak have come without star forward Robert
Tennessee State owns a 30-20 edge in its all-time series versus UTM after
defeating the Skyhawks twice last season by a total of 29 points.
Myles Taylor came up in the clutch for UTM in its hard-fought two-point
decision over the Governors. The sophomore forward tallied 19 points including
the game-winning free throws in the extra session and notched a double-double
by adding 13 boards. Mike Liabo scored a team-high 21 points off the bench,
while Terence Smith produced 11 points and five assists. The Skyhawks showed
some perseverance as they limited APSU to 26.7 percent shooting from the
floor in the second half after allowing it to knock down 52 percent of its
shots before the break. The Governors were able to outscore UTM by 16 points
at the free throw line, but the Skyhawks emerged victorious thanks to their
44-32 edge on the glass. Taylor, who is the reigning OVC Freshman of the Year,
is the go-to-guy on the offensive end as he nets 16.4 points and 7.6 boards
per game. Liabo provides instant offense off the pine with 13.4 points in only
25.6 minutes per game.
Taylor will have his work cut out for him as he tangles with the red-hot M.J.
Rhett in the post. The sophomore forward has been picking up the slack with
Covington out and registered his second-straight double-double versus the
Gamecocks with 10 points and 16 boards. Kellen Thornton also submitted a
double-double of his own with 14 points and the same number of rebounds. While
Rhett and Thornton have stepped it up, so have Patrick Miller and Jordan
Cypher. Miller has produced 20 ppg during the current four-game winning streak
and Cyphers is close behind at 15.3. TSU is averaging 68 ppg without Covington
in the lineup, but its opposition has managed only 61.5 ppg over the past four
The Skyhawks face the tough test of escaping the Gentry Center with a win, but
their chances are much better with Covington on the bench. TSU has received
stellar play from Rhett, but there is no telling how long the 6-9 sophomore
will be able to keep posting double-doubles. Taylor really needs to set the
tone with another strong outing to give UTM a shot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 67, Tennessee-Martin 62
01/10 10:34:41 ET