Tennessee Tech (8-12) at Tennessee State (12-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 31, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Complex (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: TTU 5-4, TSU 8-0. Away Record: TTU 3-8, TSU 3-9. Neutral Record: TTU 0-0, TSU 1-1. Conference Record: TTU 2-6, TSU 6-3. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 28-26.
GAME NOTES: Volunteer State rivals are set to square off at the Gentry Complex in Nashville on Thursday night, as the Tennessee State Tigers entertain the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in Ohio Valley Conference action.
Tennessee Tech comes in off a 70-52 home victory over Austin Peay last Saturday, although that was one its very few successes of late. The Golden Eagles are 8-12 this season, which includes just two wins in eight league bouts, and prior to their latest triumph they had been losers of eight of nine.
The Tigers opened their OVC slate on an incredible hot streak, winning their first six league games, but they recently embarked on a three-game road swing and lost each time, most recently falling at Morehead State last Saturday, 78-69. Despite its recent slide, Tennessee State is still 12-10 overall, and it has yet to lose on its home floor in eight tries.
TTU holds a slim 28-26 lead over TSU in the all-time series. The Tigers closed the gap with a 72-66 win in the first meeting this season on Jan. 3.
The Eagles pieced together one of their best all-around performances of the campaign in their latest victory. Not only did they shoot nearly 50 percent from the field, but they also held Austin Peay to just 40.4 percent shooting and won the rebounding battle, 36-27. Jud Dillard was outstanding in the victory, narrowly missing a triple-double with 25 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, while Dennis Ogbe and Anthony Morse chipped in 10 points apiece. Dillard is one of the OVC's most dynamic playmakers. He is an outstanding scorer with 19.5 ppg on 46.2 percent shooting from the field and 77.3 percent from the foul line, and he also grabs 7.7 rpg and hands out 2.4 apg. The bad news for TTU is that no other player nets double figures on a nightly basis, and its 63.7 ppg ranks 10th in the league. Jeremiah Samarrippas isn't very potent as the team's next-best scorer (9.1 ppg), but he can make things happen out on the perimeter with 4.1 apg and almost two steals per contest.
TSU's offensive attack last weekend was fairly impressive, as the team shot 50 percent from the field and went 23-of-32 at the foul line, but it suffered the nine-point loss by allowing its opponent to score at least 76 points for the third consecutive game. Patrick Miller was impressive in the setback, netting 19 points while missing just one of his 10 free throws. Kellen Thornton added 18 points, while Jordan Cyphers finished with 15. The Tigers suffered a huge blow last month when they lost star forward Robert Covington (17.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) to a knee injury, but they've been able to keep their head above water thanks to the play of Thornton and Miller. Thornton shoots an outstanding 53.5 percent from the field for his 14.5 ppg and he makes his presence felt in the trenches with 7.7 rpg, while Miller pours in 13.7 ppg mostly due to his frequent and efficient trips to the foul line (91-of-121, .752), and he also hands out 5.3 apg, second-most in the conference. Cyphers brings 11.9 ppg to the table for TSU, which scores 67.8 ppg while yielding 66.3 ppg.
TSU's recent (road) nightmare can finally come to an end with its return to Music City, and against a lackluster TTU squad it shouldn't have much of an issue remaining unbeaten at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome Tennessee State 71, Tennessee Tech 63
01/31 10:35:10 ET