Nashville, TN – The 14th-ranked Murray State Racers will try to avenge their only loss of the season as they head to the Gentry Center to battle the Tennessee State Tigers in a premiere Ohio Valley Conference matchup.
TSU and Murray State will be meeting for the 63rd time in history. The Tigers ended the Racers' dreams of a perfect season in first bout this season, as they beat Murray State 72-68 at the CFSB Center. TSU will be attempting to sweep Murray State for the first time since the 1992-1993 season tonight.
Head coach Steve Prohm has led his Racers to three straight wins since the loss to TSU, the most recent of which was an impressive 65-51 victory over Saint Mary's in this past weekend's BracketBusters. Murray State was on fire in the contest as it hit 58.1 percent of its field goals including 9-of-17 from three-point range to down the Gaels. The Racers have already clinched the OVC Title for the third straight year. Murray State's incredible 23-0 start made it the last undefeated team in the NCAA's Division I. Prohm can still be the first coach in MSU's 87-year history to lead his team to a perfect road record.
Isaiah Canaan has had a remarkable year leading Murray State. Canaan is second in the OVC in scoring with an average of 19.3 ppg and has been named one of 11 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which goes to the nation's top point guard. Donte Poole and Ivan Aska have been vital members of the supporting cast for Canaan along the way. Poole is second on the squad with 14.0 ppg, while Aska is averaging 11.6 points and a team-high 5.9 boards per contest.
Although the Racers are one of the nation's hottest teams, the Tigers are even hotter as they have won their last nine games. TSU improved to 19-10 overall on Saturday in the BracketBusters event by topping Miami-Ohio, 68-61, to keep its streak alive. TSU has not won 20 games in a season since its 1978-1979 campaign. Head coach John Cooper will need his team to get off to a stronger start in this one, as it has had to claw back from second half double-digit deficits in three of its last four games. The Tigers are locked into the No. 2 seed in the upcoming conference tournament and would have to run the table to make it to the Big Dance regardless of the outcome of this one.
Robert Covington will once again try to lead the Tigers past MSU tonight. Covington finished with team highs of 17 points and eight rebounds in the first bout with the Racers. The junior forward is fourth in the OVC in scoring (17.9 ppg) and second in rebounding (7.9 rpg). Patrick Miller is a solid point guard for TSU, while Jordan Cyphers, Kellen Thornton, Wil Peters, and Kenny Moore provide scoring depth.