Jacksonville State (7-10) at Tennessee State (1-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Center (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee.
Television: None. Home Record: JSU 5-1, TSU 1-4. Away Record: JSU 1-7, TSU
1-8. Neutral Record: JSU 1-1, TSU 0-2. Conference Record: JSU 1-1, TSU 0-2.
Series Record: Tennessee State leads, 12-8.
GAME NOTES: The Jacksonville State Gamecocks will attempt to steal a road
win against the struggling Tennessee State Tigers, when the two teams meet in
Ohio Valley Conference action at the Gentry Center on Saturday night.
Jacksonville State is making its way across town after falling to Belmont, a
team that also calls Nashville home, on Thursday night. The Gamecocks had won
back-to-back games prior to that contest, including a 70-65 win over
Tennessee-Martin in their OVC opener. Playing on the road has not been a
successful venture for Jacksonville State, which has just one win in nine
tries this season.
Tennessee State is continuing a three-game homestand that began on Thursday.
Getting back to the Gentry Center didn't help much for the Tigers, who fell in
a 57-53 final to Tennessee Tech for their fourth straight loss and 14th in 15
chances overall this season. The stretch of home games will conclude on
Tuesday when the squad takes on Middle Tennessee.
If Tennessee State can play as well as it did last year against Jacksonville
State it should have a chance to put an end to its losing streak. The Tigers
swept the season series in 2012-13, and owns a 12-8 edge in the all-time
series as a result.
Poor defense in the second half ended Jacksonville State's chances at an upset
against Belmont. The Gamecocks allowed the Bruins to hit 68.2 percent of their
field goal attempts in the second half after taking a 39-37 lead at halftime.
Allowing teams to score at such an accelerated rate is not something that
Jacksonville State can withstand. The Gamecocks are only scoring 67.8 ppg and
shooting 43.2 percent from the floor. Those marks are good enough for 10th and
ninth in the OVC, respectively. Darion Rackley (13.9 ppg) leads the way in
terms of scoring, as he did against Belmont with a team-best 15 points. Brian
Williams (10.3 ppg, 3.9 apg) is also averaging in double figures, while
leading the team in assists. However, he has failed to be an efficient
shooter, hitting 34.9 percent from the field overall after making good on just
5-of-14 tries against Belmont.
Tennessee State also coughed up a halftime lead to fall on Thursday. The
Tigers led 25-22 at halftime against Tennessee Tech, but recorded only nine
field goals, while hitting a miserable 7-of-17 shots from the free-throw line
to let the Golden Eagles escape with the decision.
The Tigers are one of the few teams in the OVC that have been worse on offense
than the Gamecocks. Tennessee State ranks 11th in the league in both scoring
(65.7 ppg) and field goal percentage (.408). One of the major weaknesses for
the unit is its inability to move the ball, with the team sitting dead last in
assists (10.5 apg). Patrick Miller (21 ppg, 4.3 apg) does all he can to
alleviate those issues as he leads the OVC in scoring, and also fits among the
top-10 players in the league in assists. Scoring options are limited beyond
Miller, with M.J. Rhett (10.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg) the next best option.
Miller can score. Unfortunately there aren't many other reasons to be
optimistic about Tennessee State. Jacksonville State may not be the strongest
offensive team, but it should have enough in the tank to squeak out a tough
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Jacksonville State 68, Tennessee State 63
01/04 10:45:06 ET
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