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Golden Eagles to open OVC play with tilt at Jacksonville State

JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Conference play begins for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team Saturday with a match-up against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. The game marks the fifth and final game in a brutal five-game road stretch for the Golden Eagles as they look to move back above the .500 mark.

Tennessee Tech (6-6, 0-0)
vs.
Jacksonville State (8-3, 0-0)
Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 / 4:30 p.m. CST
Pete Mathews Coliseum – Jacksonville, Ala.

The Broadcasts
Television - none
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Live on the OVC Digital Network

Setting the Stage
Although this series dates back to 1937-38, the first meeting between the Golden Eagles and Gamecocks, only four of the 21 matchups occurred before JSU's arrival to the Ohio Valley Conference in 2003. Tech won all four meetings prior to
Jacksonville State's inaugural season in the OVC.

The Golden Eagles own a 13-9 advantage in the series, winning the first meeting in 1937-38 by a score of 28-27. Over the past 10 meetings, Tech owns a 6-4 advantage, with all but three of the games decided by single digits.

Only four of the previous 10 meetings between the two programs have taken place in Cookeville, and the Golden Eagles have taken advantage of the home court opportunitites. TTU has won three of its four home games against Jax State in the last 10 meetings.

Tech exacted some revenge in the last meeting against Jacksonville State, winning in Jacksonville 76-68. The win came after a controversial home loss against the Gamecocks earlier in the year that saw JSU walk away with a 63-62 victory.

Former Golden Eagle Kevin Murphy and current Tech senior guard Jud Dillard put up big numbers against the Gamecocks in the last meeting, scoring 23 and 26 points, respectively. Dillard also added 12 rebounds in the game, accounting for one of his eight double-doubles in the 2011-12 season.

Four Gamecocks' players are currently averaging double digit scoring efforts every game. The team is led by sophomore guard Darion Rackley, who scores 13.7 points per game.

Also adding at least 10 points per contest to the mix for JSU are seniors Tarvin Gaines and Ronnie Boggs. A forward from West Memphis, Ark., Gaines is putting up 12.3 points per game. Boggs, a guard that also averages 6.5 rebounds per contest, is adding 11.0 points every time out.

Junior guard Brian Williams rounds out the group of double digit scorers with 10.5 points per game.

While Jax State boasts its scorers, the team is recognized for its defense this season, owning the best scoring defense in the Ohio Valley Conference and ranking in the top 60 in Division I basketball. The Gamecocks allow just 59.5 points per game.

Tech will look to get back to its winning ways and avoid dropping below the .500 mark for the first time this season. The match-up marks the fifth and final game in a five-game road stretch for the Golden Eagles that began Dec. 8 at Gardner-Webb. While TTU is just 1-3 during the first four games, it still sits at 6-6 on the season after wrapping up its non-conference schedule at Oklahoma State Dec. 22.

Senior guard Jud Dillard will look to keep up his strong scoring effort after three straight games of 18 points or better. A native of Atlanta, Ga., Dillard ranks second in the OVC with 18.9 points per game.

Fans can tune in to 106.1 TheEagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Gamecocks on Saturday. Radio coverage will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to the 4:30 p.m. CST tip-off time. Fans can also view the live game feed on the OVC Digital Network, the Ohio Valley Conference's live webstream for free here.

To read more about the upcoming game and Tennessee Tech basketball, take a look at the game notes for the match-up against Jacksonville State here.