Golden Eagles to host Gardner Webb Feb. 19 in Bracket Buster

Golden Eagles to host Gardner Webb Feb. 19 in Bracket Buster

First-time meeting with Gardner Webb on the hardcourt

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Tech's Bracket Buster game on Saturday, Feb. 19 will be against....Gardner Webb. The pairings for the Ohio Valley Conference schools were announced Monday evening on ESPNU, and the Golden Eagles will host the Bulldogs from the Big South Conference.

The game will mark the first game against Gardner Webb for the Tech men's basketball team.

Gardner Webb is a member of the Big South Conference, and heads into the month of February with a 7-16 overall record, including a 2-9 mark in conference play. Included in the Bulldogs' results are losses to Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Arizona State and Louisville. They opened the year under new head coach Chris Holtmann with a victory over Charlotte of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

"I think their record is a little deceeiving," said Tech coach Mike Sutton. "They started with a nice win over Charlotte and they were off to a 6-4 start before they hit a real long road streak. They've played some really good opponents and have already played 15 road games. They just lost a game to Liberty, which is one of the better teams in their conference, in double overtime.

"I think they're going to be a tough opponent, and a good geographical matchup," Sutton added.

Gardner Webb is located in Boiling Springs, North Carolina.

The Bulldogs are under the direction of Chris Holtmann, who is in his first year with at Gardner Webb after two seasons as the lead assistant at Ohio University. At Ohio, Holtmann helped lead the Bobcats to the 2010 Mid-American Conference championship and an upset of No. 3 seed Georgetown in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

"We've played some really good Bracket Buster opponents, and I think Gardner Webb will be another one," Sutton said.

In previous Bracket Buster games, Tech has faced the likes of Bradley, Northwestern State, Ball State and Appalachian State.

The Gardner Webb roster includes one Tennessean who will be heading back to his home state for the game. Junior forward Josh Henley, the team's leading rebounder, is from Madison, Tenn., and prepped at Hunters Lane High School. The 6-3 forward is averaging 6.7 rebounds and ranks fifth on the team in scoring with 6.1 points per contest. He also tops GWU in field goal percentage, hitting 54.6 percent of his 108 shots, all but one coming from inside the 3-point arc.

Gardner Webb's leading scorer is Jon Moore, a 6-foot-4 senior wing who is averaging 13.4 points per game. A gunner, Moore has fired up 104 3-point tries, tops on the team. Point guard Luke Davis, a 6-foot freshman, has also launched a few from outside the arc, taking 92 3-point tries. He's the team's leader in assists with nearly four per game and ranks fourth in the team in scoring with 7.8 ppg.

Five OVC schools will play their Bracket Buster game at home, and five will be on the road. The list of OVC games and opponents:

Austin Peay at Fairfield (TV Game on ESPNU)
Eastern Illinois at Toledo
Eastern Kentucky at Western Carolina
Jacksonville State at Eastern Michigan
Morehead State at Indiana State
Evansville at Murray State
Sacramento State at Southeast Missouri
Delaware State at Tennessee State
Gardner-Webb at Tennessee Tech
Bradley at UT Martin

The game against Gardner Webb is included in Tennessee Tech's season ticket package for 2010-11. Individual game tickets for the Gardner Webb contest will go on sale Tuesday morning through the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center.

The game will be the second contest in a doubleheader in Eblen Center, with the TTU women's team hosting Austin Peay at 5:30 p.m. to get things started. The night games will feature a couple of special promotions, including Think Pink and Pack The House Night.

For information about the special events or to order tickets, please call (931) 372-3940.