NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Following two dominating defensive efforts, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team hits the road for a pair of contests in the Music City, beginning with a rematch with the Tennessee State Tigers on Thursday. The Golden Eagles will matchup with Belmont on Saturday.
Tennessee Tech (8-12, 2-6)
Tennessee State (12-10, 6-3)
Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 / 7 p.m. CST
Gentry Center – Nashville, Tenn.
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Live on OVC Digital Network
Setting the Stage
Tennessee State sits just one win away from tying this in-state rivalry at 28 victories each. The Golden Eagles will soar into Nashville with revenge on the mind after falling to the Tigers earlier this season by just six points in the Eblen Center.
Despite missing preseason all-OVC selection Robert Covington, Tennessee State was able to walk away with its second straight win in the series, a six-point victory that gave Tech its first home loss in conference play.
Point guard play was a strength for the Golden Eagles in the last match-up, as junior Jeremiah Samarrippas and redshirt freshman Lanerryl Johnson scored 22 and 21 points, respectively. It marked a career high for Samarrippas, as the SMU transfer connected on an impressive 8-of-14 shots from the field and 5-of-10 from 3-point range.
Munich, Germany native and junior forward Dennis Ogbe ripped down a career-best 13 rebounds against the Tigers, leading both teams. Senior Jud Dillard played just 28 minutes in the contest due to early foul trouble that limited him to just 13 points and five boards.
TSU's Patrick Miller led the Tiger offense in the contest, scoring 21 points. M.J. Rhett, Jordan Cyphers, and Deshawn Dockery also scored in double-figures, recording 15, 14, and 10 points, respectively. Rhett and Kellen Thornton each grabbed 10+ rebounds in the game, giving Rhett a double-double.
There was no shortage of fouls called in the contest, as the Golden Eagles and Tigers combined for 52 fouls. Tech was whistled for a season-high 30 while TSU was caught for 22. The fouls led to 39 free throw attempts by the Tennessee State squad, while Tech attempted 24.
Fans looking for a high-scoring match-up may need to look elsewhere on Thursday, as the Golden Eagles have been scorching hot on the defensive end of the court in their past two contests. Tech held two of the top five offenses in the OVC to well below their season averages for points.
Murray State, which entered the game putting up 73.8 per contest was held to its lowest scoring total since 2008-09, a measly 47 points. Austin Peay, which also entered its contest against the Golden Eagles scoring over 71 points, could only muster up 52 to the stingy Tech D.
Another thing to keep an eye out for will be the homecourt advantage for TSU. The Tigers have yet to lose in the Gentry Center this season, recording an 8-0 mark, and have also won 18 of their last 19 home games since last season.
On the flip side, Tennessee State returns home, fresh off of its third straight loss. All three came on the road and against top OVC competition, including three of the top five teams in the conference standings in Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, and Morehead State.
Tech enters the contest after walloping Austin Peay by 18 points on Saturday, ending a three-game skid and finding its scoring touch for the first time during that span. Led by senior guard Jud Dillard, who recorded his seventh double-double of the season, the Golden Eagles took down the Governors for the fifth consecutive time.
He also nearly recorded a triple-double in the contest racking up 25 points, 11 rebounds, and a career-best eight assists. Dillard is just the third Golden Eagle in the past 10 years to record eight or more assists and not commit a turnover. Jeremiah Samarripppas did the same earlier this season.
Freshman big man Anthony Morse recorded a career-high 10 points in the contest, including two monster jams that created a deafening atmosphere in the Eblen Center. The latter of the dunks put an exclamation point on the contest, essentially ending any momentum that the Governors could hope to build off of.
Fans can tune in to 106.1 The Eagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Tigers on Saturday. Radio coverage will begin 15 minutes prior to the 7 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 Tennessee State here.