NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After narrowly falling to Alabama A&M, the men’s basketball team is looking to get in the win column when they take a trip to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Tennessee State (0-9) has relied heavily on their veteran leaders this season with senior guard Patrick Miller being the focal point of the TSU attack. Miller comes in to Saturday’s game against Drexel (5-2) averaging 20.8 points per game, which ranks 35th in all of Division I basketball. The Chicago native has led the Tigers in scoring in all but one game, and has five games with 20 or more points.
In the post M.J. Rhett has been a force all year, averaging 10.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per contest. The past two times Big Blue has taken the court Rhett has had his best performances, with two double doubles to his credit.
Last Saturday Rhett scored 11 points going 4-for-6 from the field with 11 rebounds. Tuesday, the Columbia, S.C. posted his best all-around performance in a Tigers uniform, scoring 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting to go along with a career high 14 rebounds, seven of which were offensive.
On the year, Rhett has totaled four double doubles to rank 27th in the country.
Off the bench junior Kennedy Eubanks provided an extra punch Tennessee State needed Tuesday night, netting eight points and a career high 10 boards in the loss.
Tuesday, Tennessee State won the battle on the glass for the first time all year, outrebounding the Bulldogs 46-31, including 18 offensive boards.
In the past six contests the Tigers offense has hit its stride averaging 68.3 points per game, shooting 42.1 percent in the games.
TSU will once again hit the road Saturday, traveling to CAA foe Drexel. The Dragons were picked to finish second in its conference behind Towson.
The Philadelphia school has raced out to a 5-2 start, including a trip to Madison Square Garden last weekend, where the Dragons narrowly lost to No. 2 Arizona, 66-62, and knocked off Alabama in three overtimes, 85-83.
Senior guard Chris Fouch leads the team and ranks fourth in the CAA with an average of 19.1 points per game. The Tigers also boast three other scorers that average in double figures; in senior Frantz Massenat (14.9), sophomore Tavon Allen (14.0) and junior Damion Lee (13.0).
The Dragons will be without Lee though for the remainder of the season, after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against the Arizona Wildcats.
Offensively the Dragons’ attack ranks third in the CAA with an average of 74.0 points per game, while holding the sixth best shooting percentage at 41.9 percent. Drexel is particularly solid when it comes to protecting the basketball, averaging 10.3 turnovers a game. Massenat runs the offense from the point guard position with an average of 5.3 assists to just 2.0 turnovers per game, for an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.6.
In the post the Dragons boast two players in the top four of the rebounding category in the CAA in senior Dartaye Ruffin (8.6) and junior Kazembe Abif (8.4).
Both teams will square off in the John A. Daskalakis Athletic Center with tip set for 3 p.m. CT.