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Golden Eagles set to host Crowley’s Ridge in season opener


COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Head coach Steve Payne will rollout his second edition of Tennessee Tech men's basketball Saturday night, when the Golden Eagles open the 2012-13 season by hosting NCCAA opponent Crowley's Ridge in the second part of a doubleheader.

Tennessee Tech (0-0, 0-0) vs. Crowley's Ridge (1-2, 0-0)
Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012
8 p.m. CT
Eblen Center- Cookeville, Tenn.

The Broadcasts
TV: none
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: OVC Digital Network (Brandon Goodwin)

Setting the Stage
The Golden Eagles will open the 2012-13 season in the second half of a double-header when it welcomes Crowley's Ridge to the Eblen Center in Cookeville, Tenn.

Saturday's game will Tech's annual First Tennessee Bank's Poster night. Every fan in attendance will receive a free schedule poster. Players from both the men's and women's teams will be available post-game for autographs.

Fresh Faces
Head Coach Steve Payne is back for his second season at the helm for the Golden Eagles following a solid first-year campaign. The 2011-12 squad finished 19-14, won the iBN Sports Las Vegas Classic, and earned two all-OVC first-team honors.

Many of the faces Golden Eagle fans knew and loved from last year are gone. The team's leading scorer, Kevin Murphy, graduated and was drafted in the second round of the NBA draft by the Utah Jazz. Ohio Valley Conference assists and steals leader Zac Swansey graduated, as did seven-footer Liam McMorrow, who was taken by the Iowa Energy in the NBA D-League draft.

Also among the departed for the Golden Eagles include four-time team defensive player of the year Zach Bailey, leading blocker Bassey Inameti, four-year role player Riley Hunley, John Sexton, and Chase Dunn.

With just six players returning from last season's squad, only five of which played last season, Payne needed a deep recruiting class to help keep the Golden Eagles in contention this season. And he did just that, adding two transfers, four true freshman, and two redshirt freshmen to round out the 2012-13 roster.

Among those returnees for the Golden Eagles, none stands out more than preseason all-OVC selection Jud Dillard. The senior guard, who was selected to the all-OVC first team last season, led the conference in rebounding, grabbing just over eight boards a game. He finished second on the team in scoring, recording a little over 17 points per contest. His eight double-doubles led the team and tied for second in the league.

Two other starters return will return for Tech, senior big man Terrell Barnes and junior forward Dennis Ogbe. Barnes started 29 games in 2011-12 and is the lone returning post player for the Golden Eagles. Ogbe nabbed 20 starts last season and will look to make a habit of it again this year.

Junior swingman Matt Marseille returns to the Golden Eagles after sitting out the 2011-12 campaign due to a knee injury. The veteran leader will be looked upon to bounce back and provide some necessary depth both down low and on the wing.

Sophomores Mitchell Hill and Javon McKay round out the returnees for Tech. Hill, a local Cookeville product will look to provide coach Payne with some key minutes down the stretch and use his fantastic work ethic to challenge his teammates to work harder. McKay had a solid freshman season and projects to start early and often for the Golden Eagles out on the wing.

New to the crew this season are transfers Jeremiah Samarrippas and Josiah Moore. Samarrippas, a junior guard from Southern Methodist University, is expected to make an immediate impact at the point guard position after gaining clearance by the NCAA to play this season. He finished fifth in Conference USA last season in both assists (4.2) and assist/turnover ratio (1.8). Moore, who transferred from Nebraska, will sit out the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer regulations following one year in the Big 10.

Redshirt freshmen Lanerryl Johnson and Ryon Riggins are ready to go following a year of learning and development. Johnson, a speedy guard from Atlanta, Ga., will prove to be an asset in the backcourt for the Golden Eagles due to his defensive skills and game-changing speed. Riggins adds a 6-9 frame to the mix and will provide some quality minutes in the paint.

The incoming 2012-13 class for the Golden Eagles is a strong one. DeOndre Haynes, a top 150 recruit out of Calera, Ala., will sit out much of the first month due to a foot injury. However, he is expected to make an immediate impact as a back-up point guard and spot-up shooter when he gets healthy.

Anthony Morse, a 6-8 forward from Lawrenceville, Ga. has already made an impact on the coaching staff, projecting as a possible starter this weekend and is expected to provide a strong presence in the frontcourt for the Golden Eagles. He is joined by fellow big man, Eric Weisenbach, a seven-footer out of Dublin, Ohio. Rounding out the 2012-13 roster is freshman Ammanuel Diressa. Diressa, a native of Toronto, Canada, will provide Tech with an immediate three-point threat.

For complete gamenotes, please click here.

Saturday's game will be a part of a special ticket plan on Tech's campus. Anyone holding a ticket for the football game will be admitted to the basketball games, and anyone with a ticket to the basketball games can attend the football game. To take advantage of this opportunity, fans only need to show their ticket at the ticket window at either Tucker Stadium or Eblen Center, and they will receive a complimentary ticket to the other event that day.
For additional information on this special ticket offer, visit or call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center at (931) 372-3940.