SALEM -- The Salem International men's and women's basketball teams each will try to open their West Virginia Conference schedules on a successful note.
Bluefield State travels to the T. Edward Davis Gymnasium in the squads' first conference games of the year.
The women's contest starts at 5:15 p.m., while the men's game starts at 7:30 p.m.
In the men's game, the Tigers (7-0) and the Big Blues (1-4) enter on both ends of the spectrum in team statistics.
SIU, which is ranked No. 14 nationally and No. 2 in the East Regional rankings, comes in with the league's best scoring margin at plus-25.3 a game, while Bluefield is last at minus-19.0 a game.
The Tigers also are the league's top shooting team (51 percent) and third best in defensive field goal percentage (38 percent), while Bluefield is next to last in shooting (39 percent) and last in defensive field goal percentage (51 percent).
The Tigers have seven players averaging more than eight points, led by Wykeen Kelly's 19.4 points. Kelly also adds 5.1 rebounds a game from his shooting guard spot.
Jason Dunham follows him with 13.3 points a game and 6.9 rebounds a game, while James Fowler (9.8), Damon Barnett (8.8), Chucky Fine (8.7), Kenia Williams (8.4) and Greg Cannon (8.1) give SIU a solid rotation of scorers.
Fine also averages 5.7 assists, and Cannon is the leading rebounder at 7.3 a game.
The Big Blues have four players averaging double figures with Marcus Clement leading the way with 18.6 points. Leon Smith follows at 14.8 points a game, while Chauncy Martin (11.0) and Matt Farr (10.0) also average double digits.
Farr and Martin are Bluefield's leading rebounders at 7.6 and 7.0 a game, respectively.
In the women's contest, SIU is looking for its second straight win of the season.
The Tigers (1-5) claimed a 67-46 victory against the District of Columbia on Wednesday.
Freshman Kristen Self leads the Tigers at 14.3 points a game, while Chrissy Luchuck adds 8.3 points a game. Giedre Mazeikaite averages 7.0 points and 8.5 rebounds.
The Big Blues (2-6) enter the game on a five-game losing streak and are led by Cassie Miller's 17.1 points and Amy Brewer's 10.4.
Assistant sports editor Danny Carpenter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.