Jacksonville State (11-16) at Tennessee State (17-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 14th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gentry Complex (10,500) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Jacksonville State 6-4, Tennessee State 10-1. Away Record: Jacksonville State 3-9, Tennessee State 6-8. Neutral Record: Jacksonville State 2-3, Tennessee State 1-1. Conference Record: Jacksonville State 6-7, Tennessee State 10-4. Series Record: Tennessee State leads 10-9.
GAMES NOTES: Tennessee State will be out to avenge a loss from earlier in the season when Jacksonville State enters the Gentry Complex for an Ohio Valley Conference tilt.
Jacksonville State took down Tennessee State 72-65 when these teams first squared off in early January. The Gamecocks have now won back-to-back games against the Tigers for the third time in the 19 meetings. Tennessee State still has the upper hand in the series though, at 10-9.
After beginning the season in less-than-successful fashion, the Gamecocks have begun to play better basketball. Coming into the first matchup with Tennessee State, the Gamecocks were just 5-12 and riding a four-game losing streak. Including the win over the Tigers, Jacksonville State has since won six of its last 10 and is flirting with .500 in conference play with a 6-7 mark. The Gamecocks next opponent will be from out of conference as Jacksonville State hosts Big South foe Presbyterian.
Tennessee State has also been riding high since the first matchup between these squads. The Tigers have won nine of 10 since that loss including the last seven straight. Last week the Tigers earned a major victory by handing then No. 9 Murray State its first loss of the season. Tennessee State is now 10-4 and trailing only the Racers for the top spot in the OVC. Tennessee State will also step out of conference play when it plays on the road against Miami- Ohio before a rematch with Murray State to end the season.
Jacksonville State took care of host Morehead State its last time out by posting a 69-55 win over the Eagles. The Gamecocks were efficient on offense, putting in 55.3 percent of their shots from the floor, including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. Of the eight players who saw time on the court, four were in double figures in the game.
Despite clawing its way out of the cellar in the OVC, Jacksonville State stills finds itself at the bottom of the conference in terms of offensive production even after the dominating win over Morehead State. The Gamecocks score only 64.3 points per game and shoot 42.2 percent from the floor which are ninth and 10th respectively in the league. Jacksonville State does keep itself in games by allowing only 64.7 points per game to its opponents. Sophomore guard Brain Williams (13.1 ppg, 3.3 apg) is the team's leading scorer and was one of the double-digit scorers against the Eagles putting in 12. However, it was a freshman who stepped up, as Darion Rackley (6.9 ppg) poured in a career-high 20 points in the win. Rackley has seen his minutes increase in the last seven games and has taken advantage, scoring in double figures in six of those seven games. Tarvin Gaines (10.9 ppg) is the only other Gamecock averaging in double figures. He netted 15 points against Morehead State.
Tennessee State followed up its win over Murray State with a 68-53 victory over in-state foe Tennessee Tech on Saturday. Although not as glamorous a win, the Tigers still played well, holding the Golden Eagles to jut 35.6 percent shooting while forcing 26 turnovers.
In terms of scoring differential Tennessee State's is not overly impressive at +2.2 with the Tigers scoring 69.6 points per game and allowing 67.4 points per game to its opponents. The Tigers are an effective team on the boards bringing down the second most rebounds per game in the conference at 34.7. Robert Covington was yet again the lead scorer for the Tigers in the win over Tennessee Tech putting in 16. Covington (17.7 ppg, 7.8 rpg) is the conferences fourth highest scorer and also leads the Tigers on the glass despite tying a season low with two rebounds against Tennessee Tech. Patrick Miller (11.4 ppg, 3.6 apg) joins Covington as the only other player averaging in double figures for the Tigers, although with a nine-point outing against the Golden Eagles, he has now been held out of double digits in three of the last four games.
Jacksonville State surprised Tennessee State the last time these teams met but the Gamecocks won't be so lucky this time. The Tigers are playing well when it matters and should be able to notch another win in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 72, Jacksonville State 61
02/14 10:34:38 ET