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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 10-0, SIUE 8-4. Away Record: TSU 4-10, SIUE 1-10. Neutral Record: TSU 1-1, SIUE 0-0. Conference Record: TSU 9-4, SIUE 5-8. Series Record: Tennessee State leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Cougars of SIU Edwardsville wrap up a three-game homestand on Wednesday night, as they welcome the Tennessee State Tigers to the Vadalabene Center for an Ohio Valley Conference clash.
TSU captured an impressive 80-69 home win over Belmont on Feb. 14 to improve to 15-11 this season, including 9-4 in the OVC. The Tigers have won three of their last four games, but while they have been spectacular on their home floor (10-0), success has not come nearly as easily on the road, where they have dropped 10-of-14 bouts.
Meanwhile, SIUE has been trending in the opposite direction, having lost three of its last four following a disappointing 83-71 defeat versus Austin Peay this past Saturday. The Cougars have failed to stand out in the OVC this season at 9-14 overall and 5-8 in league play, but they have won two-thirds of their home games (8-4).
These two teams have met just once previously, with TSU winning the inaugural matchup last season, 52-49.
Despite trailing Belmont by 10 points early in the first half, Tennessee State finished the period on a 24-10 run to take a lead into intermission and it never surrendered that advantage in the second half on its way to the 11-point upset victory. The Tigers shot nearly 53 percent from the field, paced by an outstanding effort from Robert Covington (7-of-9 from the floor, 8-of-8 from the foul line for 25 points) who added seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks to his impressive stat line. Kellen Thornton logged a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards, while Patrick Miller (15 points, six rebounds) and Jordan Cyphers (10 points) were also productive. Covington missed 10 games earlier this season with an injury and his return to the court has been invaluable, as he is posting 17.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg and more than a block and a steal per contest. Rounding out perhaps the best forward duo in the OVC is Thornton, who nets 14.4 ppg on 53.1 percent field goal efficiency to go with 8.1 rpg. Miller has been a stellar floor general with 14.2 ppg, 5.3 apg and 1.7 spg, while Cyphers chips in 11.8 ppg for a team that generates just shy of 69.0 ppg.
SIUE shot a modest 42.1 percent from the floor in its latest outing, but its biggest problem in the 12-point setback was its defensive stand, as it allowed Austin Peay to connect on greater than 56 percent of its field goal attempts. Mark Yelovich turned in a solid performance in defeat, netting 21 points. Tim Johnson added 17 points, while Kris Davis and Michael Messer scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. It's easy to see why the Cougars have endured such a disappointing season when analyzing the numbers, as they score just 63.4 ppg while surrendering 66.5 ppg. Their offensive production has taken a huge hit lately with the subtraction of Jerome Jones (16.2 ppg), who will miss the remainder of the season as he serves a suspension for disciplinary reasons. Without Jones, SIUE will need to rely more on the efforts of Yelovich (11.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg), Davis (10.8 ppg, 3.7 apg) and Messer (9.3 ppg).
Even with SIUE's strong home record, it showed last weekend that it is vulnerable without its star player on the court. TSU is back at full strength attempting to make a late-season push, and it should be able to capture a satisfying road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 75, SIU Edwardsville 66
02/20 11:03:32 ET
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