Courtesy of Tennessee State Athletics
OPENING TIP: Tennessee State picked up its first weekend road sweep defeating Southern Indiana on Thursday and escaping with a four-point win at Eastern Illinois. TSU will face its toughest paring this week when SEMO and Tennessee Tech arrive at the Gentry Center. TSU sits tied for sixth place with USI and has the potential to move up to fourth place with a pair of wins.
SEMO SERIES INFORMATION: Thursday is the 57th all-time meeting between TSU and SEMO. TSU leads the series by a narrow margin, 29-27. The Tigers have dropped five of the last six against the Redhawks including the OVC Quarterfinal matchup last season, 79-55. TSU has struggled as of late in Cape Girardeau dropping five of its last six appearances to the Show Me Center including its most recent loss, a 92-75 decision on January 26.
LAST TIME OUT VS. SEMO: Phillip Russell led the Redhawks with 30 points and nine assists. Jr. Clay nearly reached a triple-double with 26 points, 14 assists, and seven rebounds. TSU led 17-1 early in the contest before SEMO used a 39-22 run to take a 40-39 lead late in the frame. The Tigers led 44-43 at the half, but SEMO raced out to a double-digit advantage midway into the second en route to the 92-75 victory.
SCOUTING SEMO: Phillip Russell leads the Redhawks averaging 19.2 points, 5.3 assists, and 31.8 minutes per game. Russell has reached double figures in the 10 games with five reaching 20 or more points and three with 30 or more points. Russell has dropped 37 points twice this season during OVC play. He had 37 at Morehead State (1/14) and Little Rock (2/2). Chris Harris is second in scoring at 14.0 points per game. He added 21 points and nine rebounds at Tennessee Tech last Saturday. SEMO’s leading rebounder Kobe Clark (8.7) has been out since Jan. 19.
HONORING BASKETBALL LEGENDS THIS WEEK: This week, TSU will honor past legends during halftime ceremonies on Thursday vs. SEMO and Saturday against Tennessee Tech. On Thursday, TSU will honor the three-peat teams that won NAIA National Championships in 1957, ’58, and ’59. TSU’s lone retired jersey honoree Dick Barnett will be in attendance to cheer on TSU. On Friday, the University will have a special showing of Dick Barnett’s documentary “The Dream Whisperer”n the midst of segregation, the all-black Tennessee A&I Tigers were the first collegiate basketball team to win three consecutive national championships. Finally, the weekend will conclude with the 30th anniversary of the 1992-93 OVC Championship team, the first non-PWI team to win a conference basketball tournament.
CHICAGO BAD BOY THRIVES IN HOME STATE: Zion Griffin reached 23 points for the third time this season when he knocked down five three-pointers against Eastern Illinois. Griffin played 31 minutes and was a tough player to defend shooting 57 percent from the field and hitting both free throws. Griffin also secured five rebounds and had three steals. Griffin tied his career mark with the five made three-pointers originally set as a member of UIC against Dayton on November 19, 2021. He also tied his single-game best with three steals which also happened as a Tiger vs. CSUN on Nov. 11, 2022.
30TH 3-BALL PARTY: Under fifth-year head coach Penny Collins, TSU has knocked down 10 or more three-pointers in a single game 30 times.So far this season, the Tigers have done it 11 times.