College Basketball

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SIU Edwardsville (11-16) at Tennessee State (3-24)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 8 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Center (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: SIUE 9-3, TSU 2-10. Away Record: SIUE 2-11, TSU 1-12. Neutral Record: SIUE 0-2, TSU 0-2. Conference Record: SIUE 7-6, TSU 2-11. Series Record: Tennessee State leads, 4-0.

GAME NOTES: The SIU Edwardsville Cougars will play their final road home game of the season on Thursday night, as they visit the Tennessee State Tigers for an Ohio Valley Conference test at the Gentry Center.

This contest wraps up a three-game road trip for SIUE, which hosts Belmont and Eastern Illinois in its final two matchups. The Cougars have won three of their last four games, but remain in the middle of the OVC standings with a mark of 7-6. They are an unimpressive 11-16 overall.

Tennessee State will be playing its final home game of the season this evening, with only visits to Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky remaining on the schedule. The Tigers have had a miserable season both overall and in conference, coming in at 3-24 overall and 2-11 in the OVC, with losses in 10 of their last 11 outings.

This is only the fourth meeting between these two teams, and the first of this season. TSU has won each of the previous matchups, including an 83-73 decision last year.

SIUE earned just its second road victory of the season last Saturday, with an 83-68 win over Austin Peay. The Cougars shot an impressive 57.1 percent from the floor, while logging a 37-31 advantage on the glass. Rozell Nunn and Donivine Stewart each scored 17 points to lead the way.

Shooting efficiently has not really been a tough task for the Cougars, who are sinking a respectable 47.3 percent from the field. However, they have still wound up on the losing side far too often because of their poor defense, which allows foes to shoot 49.7 percent overall. Stewart (12.2 ppg, 4.4 apg) leads the team in both scoring and assists. However, he is the only player on the roster averaging in double figures, with the rest of the production spread among a group of seven players putting in at least 5.5 ppg. Kris Davis (9.2 ppg) is the next best option after Stewart.

Tennessee State nearly pulled off a miracle, but fell just short in a 73-71 setback against Belmont last time out. The Tigers' work on the glass allowed them to remain competitive with a team tied for first in the OVC. They had a 41-27 edge on the boards led by 19 rebounds from M.J. Rhett.

Rhett (10.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg) attacks the glass with skill and tenacity, ranking fourth in the OVC in rebounding, while serving as the second-best scorer on the roster for the Tigers. Patrick Miller (23.2 ppg, 4 apg) is the go-to option, leading the conference in scoring. Miller added to his impressive season with 23 points against Belmont before fouling out. Miller has scored at least 20 points in 10 of the last 11 games and has made an impression with his passing as well. However, he has largely had to do it alone, with the team netting only 68.9 ppg on 42.7 percent shooting.

Playing away from home has often spelled doom for SIUE. However, even though emotions will be high for Tennessee State, the Cougars have enough balance on offense to tame the Tigers.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SIU Edwardsville 70, Tennessee State 65

02/20 10:35:06 ET

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