Golden Eagles look for third-straight victory at Jacksonville State

Golden Eagles look for third-straight victory at Jacksonville State

Murphy, Dillard still No. 2 scoring duo in NCAA Division I

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech comes into Saturday's game at Jacksonville State winners of four of its last five games and tied for third in the Ohio Valley Conference race. Tip-off against the Gamecocks is set for 4:30 p.m. CST at Pete Mathews Coliseum in Jacksonville, Ala.

The Golden Eagles will be seeking vengeance for a 63-62 loss suffered at the hands of the Gamecocks in Cookeville on Jan. 19, a game which was won on a last-second layup by JSU guard Dion Waiters.

Tech sits at 15-9 overall and 7-4 in OVC play while Jacksonville State is 10-15 overall and 5-6 in the league. The game is one of just two road OVC contests remaining for the Golden Eagles this season.

On Thursday, Tech held off a late Austin Peay charge by hitting 16 consecutive free-throws down the stretch. Kevin Murphy scored 33 points and Jud Dillard tied his career-high with 29 in the victory.

Tech leads the all-time series against Jacksonville State 12-9, and prior to this season's loss to the Gamecocks, the Golden Eagles had won three consecutive in the series, which began in 1937. The teams have played regularly since JSU joined the OVC in 2003.

Murphy and Dillard continue to rank as the No. 2 scoring duo in NCAA Division I, averaging a combined 39.8 points per contest and trailing the first-place Weber State duo of Damian Lillard and Scott Bamforth by less than a point. Lillard and Bamforth average 40.7 points per game. Murphy is scoring 21.8 points per outing while Dillard is averaging 18.0.

Individually, Murphy is the nation's fifth leading scorer, moving up from sixth after Thursday's game.

Golden Eagle players also lead the league in rebounds (Dillard, 8.4 per game), assists (Zac Swansey, 5.8 per game) and steals (Swansey, 2.4 per game). Tech is seeking to become the first school to ever lead the league's individuals in points, rebounds and assists in a season.

Sophomore guard Brian Williams leads Jacksonville State in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game, while junior forward Tarvin Gaines also scores in double-figures with 10.4 per contest. JSU does not have a player averaging more than five rebounds per game, though Ronnie Boggs and Nick Cook each average 4.2.

Jacksonville State has recovered from a slow start to the season and, like Tech, has won four of its last five contests, pulling to within a game of .500. During that stretch, the Gamecocks have beaten Tech, Eastern Illinois, SIU Edwardsville and UT Martin and lost to USC Upstate.

Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Golden Eagle Sports Network, WHUB AM 1400 and on the Internet at Fans can also watch a live webstream on or listen via Teamline by calling (216) 502-3200 and entering team code 0654. Cost is $5 per call.