COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - The Golden Eagle men's basketball returns home Monday evening, following a two-game road trip that saw the team nearly complete two late comeback attempts. Tech will play host to one of the NAIA's best in a 7 p.m. tilt as Berea College will make the trip from Kentucky to take on the Golden Eagles.
Tennessee Tech (3-3, 0-0)
Berea (7-3, 0-0)
Monday, Dec. 3, 2012 / 7 p.m. CST
Eblen Center - Cookeville, Tenn.
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Rob Schabert)
Webcast: OVC Digital Network (Brandon Goodwin)
Setting the Stage
The Golden Eagles host the Berea Mountaineers for the first time in program history Monday evening, as Tech will look to climb back above the .500 mark. The NAIA school should not be overlooked, however, as the team sits at a impressive 7-3 this season and boast five players who score in double figures.
The Mountaineers are ranked No. 1 in the NAIA Division II ranks in assists per game (24.7), free throw percentage (.786) and No. 3 in total assists (247). They also rank in the top-5 in scoring margin with a +22.4 mark and assist to turnover ratio with a mark of 1.49. Their 90.5 points per game as a team ranks in the top-10 as well.
Berea owns a well-rounded scoring offense, with three players averaging over 13 points per game. Included in that group are sophomores Aaron Ponder (13.4 ppg), Tevin Webster (13.3 ppg), and Koty Riley (13.1 ppg). Webster also leads the team with 8.3 rebounds per contest. Rounding out the double-digit scorers are juniors Trent Maddox (10.6 ppg) and Deon Banks (10.5 ppg).
Even though the Mountaineers boast a high-scoring offense, the defensive side of the ball is no slouch either. Berea allows opponents to score just 68.1 points per game. A mark they do not struggle to outperform game-in and game-out. The team has already faced one OVC opponenet this season, falling to Austin Peay on Nov. 28.
Tech will look for juniors Jeremiah Samarrippas and Matt Marseille to continue their hot play from over the weekend. Samarrippas, who averaged 17.5 points during the road trip, shot over 60% from the field in both contests and 50% from behind the three-point arc as well. He scored a team-high and career-best 20 points in the loss to Lipscomb. Marseille scored a career-high 21 points at Loyola Chicago, inluding a mind-blowing 19 in the second half alone that nearly resulted in a Golden Eagle come-from-behind victory.
Senior guard Jud Dillard recovered from a two-game rough stretch of rebouding the ball, pulling down 10 in Nashville against the Bisons. He recorded his third double-double of the season against Lipscomb, adding 13 points while shooting 100% from the charity stripe.