By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Nine out of 10 times, what happens in Vegas should definitely stay in Vegas. But in this case, the Golden Eagles would love to have the same success it had in Las Vegas two years ago when Tech won the Las Vegas Classic.
It was the first and only regular-season tournament championship for the Golden Eagles in the modern era and this year they will look to repeat the performance with a three-game event in Corpus Christi, Texas this weekend. Tech will compete in the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament against Texas-Pan American, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and IPFW.
Game One for the Golden Eagles pits them against the Broncs of Texas-Pan American, the first match-up between the two schools in over 40 years. The game will begin at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 15. Game Two for Tech will feature a 5:30 p.m. contest against host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday. TTU will wrap up the event with a 1 p.m. tilt against IPFW on Sunday.
Tennessee Tech (1-1) vs. Texas Pan American (1-2)
Friday, Nov. 15, 2013
5 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) - Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: 106.1 The Eagle (Dylan Vazzano)
Setting the Stage
It certainly has been a long time since the Broncs and Golden Eagles last met each other on the hardwood. Just over 40 years to be exact.
It was back on Jan. 6, 1973 when the Golden Eagles traveled all the way to Edinburg, Texas, eaking out a 73-71 win. The two teams played extremely different styles of offense in the contest.
Texas-Pan American relied heavily on Reese Stovall and Jesus Guerra, both scoring over 20 points in the contest. Pete Perry added 10 points and 13 boards, but Tech had a different type of attack in mind.
Four Golden Eagles found themselves in double figures, with two of them recording double-doubles. Rich Stone went 7-of-11 from the field for 14 points, adding 15 huge boards on the glass. Wayne Pack also scored 14 points while dishing out 13 assists.
Also scoring in double digits were Geoff Shuck, with 14, and Al Lewis, who led the Golden Eagles with 15 points. Lewis also hit the deciding bucket, nailing a 15-footer with 1:13 to play to land the Golden Eagles a series-tying victory.
UTPA has several capable scorers on the roster and all have proven successful this season. Shaquille Boga leads all Broncs with 13.7 points per contest this season. He is closely followed by Javorn Farrell who adds 12.3 points per game.
A third double-digit scorer also leads the team rebounding as Justin Leathers averages 12.0 points and 7.0 boards.
In Wednesday's win over Huston-Tillotson, the Broncs used a balanced attack to do its damage as five players scored in double-digits, with two more adding nine points.
Tech has plenty of options to combat Texas-Pan American, and the Golden Eagles proved that against Loyola Chicago as 11 of 12 players scored in the 74-69 win.
JUCO transfer Ty Allen has proven to be a capable scorer this season, averaging 18.0 points through the first two games of the season, ranking him fourth in the OVC.
Tech has also received contributions on the offense from Senior Class Award candidate Dennis Ogbe (averaging 9.0 points), redshirt sophomore Josiah Moore (10.5 points), and JUCO transfer Ladon Carter (8.0 points).
The Golden Eagles have had no trouble on the glass this season, ranking third in the league with Ogbe leading the way with 10 boards per game. JUCO transfer Dwan Caldwell ranks second on the squad with 7.0 rebounds per contest and Carter adds 5.5.
That kind of rebounding led to a huge advantage on the glass for Tech in its previous contest as the Golden Eagles out-rebounded the Ramblers by 14.