November 10, 2012

Tech cruises past Crowley's Ridge in season opener, 107-32


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – By halftime Saturday night, Tennessee Tech had generated the kind of numbers that typically fill a final box score. In the first 20 minutes, the Golden Eagles had 68 points, shot 62 percent from the field, had a 28-10 rebound advantage and piled up 16 assists and seven steals.

Crowley's Ridge never had a chance against Steve Payne's Golden Eagles, who were chomping at the bit to get the 2012-13 season underway, and it showed with their spirited play up-and-down the floor the entire 40 minutes.

For the record, Tech claimed a 107-32 victory over the outmanned Pioneers, an NCCAA school from Paragould, Ark.

The visitors grabbed a 3-2 lead when Jeff Skudlark dropped in a 3-pointer just a minute into the contest, but Tech answered with a jumper by Jud Dillard and never looked back.

Tech's lead reached 21 points on a 3-pointer by Lanerryl Johnson with 10:48 to play in the half, 30-9. The margin swelled to 40 points with 6:09 to play, 52-12, on a layup by Mitchell Hill.

Payne emptied his bench early and nearly everybody got into the scoring column. All 10 players who are available saw minutes, and nine of the 10 charted points in the opening 20 minutes.

At the half, Tech was on top by 45 points, 68-23.

The only mystery that remained was the final margin of victory and whether any records might tumble.

Payne and his staff continued to swap lineups and get plenty of playing time for everybody, and all 10 Golden Eagles saw at least 15 minutes on the floor.

Dillard finished with 25 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two steals to pace Tech, one of four Golden Eagles to reach double digits in scoring. Jacon McKay recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and also had three steals.

Sophomore Mitchell Hill also scored 13 for a career-high, and Dennis Ogbe added 12 points. Johnson finished with nine points and six assists, Matt Marseille had nine points and eight rebounds, and Jeremiah Samarrippas added eight points, five assists and four steals. Anthony Morse made his Tech debut with eight points, six rebounds and five blocked shots.

Daniel Stevens was the leading scorer for Crowley's Ridge with six points, while Josh Longino added five.

Tech shot 61.5 percent for the game, going 40-for-65, including 12-for-26 (46.2 percent) from outside the arc. Tech had a 47-20 advantage in rebounds, 23 assists and 16 steals.

Crowley's Ridge shot 17.8 percent (8-for-45) from the field and 3-for-17 from 3-point range.

The competition gets much tougher for the Golden Eagles, who will host Coastal Carolina on Thursday (Nov. 15) with tipoff at 7 p.m.

For tickets, visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center