Golden Eagle men seek first OVC victory Saturday when SEMO visits

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team has won 11 of the last 12 games against Southeast Missouri, but none of those victories will help the Golden Eagles in this year's Ohio Valley Conference race.

The only game coach Mike Sutton's squad is thinking about right now is the next one, and that comes Saturday night when Southeast Missouri visits Eblen Center to resume the OVC schedule.

Tech is 6-5 overall and 0-1 in league play. The Golden Eagles have lost their last three games, falling in road games at Florida State, Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe. Tech's only OVC contest to date was a loss to Jacksonville State on Dec. 6.

After dropping a one-point game to SIU-Edwardsville on New Year's Eve, the Redhawks own a 3-10 overall record including an 0-2 record against conference opponents. SEMO suffered a 91-67 loss to Austin Peay on Dec. 4, and fell two nights later to Tennessee State, 83-72, both in the Show-Me Center.

Calvin Williams and Kenard Moore lead SEMO in scoring, each averaging 16.2 points per game. Williams, a 6-9 junior center from Memphis who came to SEMO from Colorado, is doing it inside and at the free throw line, shooting 55 percent, along with a team-best 7.1 rebounds per outing. Moore is a 6-foot senior guard from Greensboro, N.C. who has done it from long range.

Jaycen Herring, 6-5 senior forward, is also scoring in twin figures with 13.8 points per game. He's second on the team in assists. The Redhawks are also getting solid contributions from Jajuan Maxwell, a 6-6 sophomore, with 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, and from LaMont Russell, a 6-6 junior, with 4.9 points and 6.8 rebounds.

Zac Roman was named acting men's basketball head coach at Southeast Missouri State on Oct. 16, 2008, taking over for Scott Edgar who was placed on administrative leave. Roman previously served one season as an assistant coach for the Redhawks program. He came to Cape Girardeau after serving five seasons as an assistant coach and interim head coach at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kan.

Three players average in double digits for Sutton's squad, led by Daniel Northern with 11.9 points per game. The senior center also leads Tech on the boards with 8.0 rebounds per game.

Junior guard Will Barnes, coming off a career-high 27-point game at UL Monroe, is averaging 11.2 points per contest and leads Tech with 31 assists. Also in double digits, junior DJ Lindsay is scoring 10.4 points per game. He ranks second on the team in rebounds with 4.8 per game, and is shooting 51 percent from the field.

Junior Frank Davis, the team's top 3-point gunner, is averaging 9.9 points per game.

In last year's first contest, SEMO played stellar post defense and ended five years of frustration with an 84-74 victory in the Show Me Center in December.

The Redhawks cashed in on off-target shooting by the Golden Eagles as Tech shot 36.8 percent from the field and SEMO owned a 51-35 advantage in rebounds.

With Amadi McKenzie getting into early foul trouble - and eventually fouling out with nine points and 14 rebounds - the Golden Eagles were missing a vital part of their attack. Northern and Ra'Shun Bryant also heard the whistle blow a couple of times in the first half, so Tech coach Mike Sutton had to scramble to find a lineup that could counter the Redhawks' aggressive style.

Davis scored a career-high 23 points, including five 3-pointers in trying to bring Tech back into the contest down the stretch. He scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half.

Davis was the lone Golden Eagle to score in double figures.

SEMO had four players in double figures, led by Herring with 17 and Roderick Pearson with 16, and Williams with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Michael Rembert added 10 points.

In the second meeting, McKenzie and Northern each posted double-doubles and Anthony Fisher flirted with a triple-double as Tech rolled to a 93-76 win in Eblen Center.

Tech had five players in double figures as Rashaud Nixon and Davis scored 14 apiece. McKenzie had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Northern 11 points and 11 rebounds for his league-leading sixth double-double of the year, and Fisher finished with a game-high 21 points, six assists and seven rebounds.

Tech owned a commanding 51-38 advantage in rebounds.

Herring led SEMO with 17 points, Pearson had 14 points and five assists, Moore added 11 points and Will Bogan scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.