Golden Eagles welcome in-state rival ETSU for Wednesday freebie
Nov 25, 2013
Admission is free Wednesday afternoon when Tennessee Tech hosts
East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. The game was postponed from Tuesday
night. Anyone who purchased a ticket Tuesday may exchange that
ticket for a free ticket to any future Golden Eagle game on the
By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's finally
time for an in-state rivalry game at the Eblen Center as the
Tennessee Tech men's basketball team will host East Tennessee State
Tuesday evening at 7 p.m.
After several decades of of continued
battles, this series went dormant in the early 1980's, shortly
following the Buccaneers exit from the Ohio Valley Conference, it
wasn't until the mid-2000's that the rivalry was resumed. This
year's meeting marks the fourth straight in what looks to be
rebuilt as a fierce in-state battle year-in and year-out.
Tuesday's contest also marks the third
contest in a four-game home stand for the Golden Eagles, who sit
1-1 in that span after a tough loss Saturday to Milwaukee. Tech is
2-1 at home on the year, and will look to get back to its winning
ways with the squad from Johnson City on the floor.
Tennessee Tech (3-4) vs. East Tennessee State
Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013
7:00 p.m. CT
Eblen Center (9,280) - Cookeville, Tenn.
Radio: 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Golden Eagle Sports Network on the OVC Digital Network
Setting the Stage
In last season's installment in this renewed in-state rivalry,
Tennessee Tech prevailed in a tight, down-to-the-last-buzzer
firefight. The Golden Eagles held on against the East Tennessee
State Buccaneers in the final seconds to pull off a 65-62 win and
move to 3-0 for the first time since 2008-09.
The Golden Eagles were led by gutsy performance by senior guard
Jud Dillard, who flirted with a triple-double while scoring 25
points. In addition to dominating the game both early and late with
scoring, Dillard also pulled down 10 rebounds to notch his second
consecutive double-double. He added six assists in the game to tie
his career-best mark as well.
Tech jumped out to an early nine-point lead, grabbing a 17-8
advantage with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half. The
Buccaneers would answer quickly and with great emphasis, putting
together a nifty and impressive 16-point run that gave them a seven
point advantage with five to go in the first period.
ETSU would not relinquish the lead until the second period, taking
a 29-26 lead into the half. The Buccaneer lead didn't last long, as
the Golden Eagles stormed out of the half, scoring nine points in
the first three minutes and regaining an advantage over the Bucs.
East Tennessee State would tie the game up with 15:36 to play.
Junior guard and SMU transfer Jeremiah
Samarrippas hit a jumper with just under 15 minutes to put the
Golden Eagles up by two and start a solid run that would give Tech
an advantage that couldn't be overcome by the Buccaneers. Helping
extend the lead with some clutch shooting was freshman guard Ammanuel
Diressa. Diressa knocked down three-pointers on back-to-back
possessions to help balloon the Golden Eagle lead to as many as
East Tennessee State showed its resilience, fighting until the
very end and shrinking the Tech advantage down to as many as two
points with 22 seconds to play. Samarrippas would hit one of two
free throws to give the Golden Eagles a three-point lead with 14
seconds. ETSU missed a three-point attempt with three seconds to go
and most fittingly, Dillard pulled down the board to give himself a
Junior forward Dennis Ogbe added
a season-high 11 points, shooting 100% from the field and
three-point line. He played especially well in the post, scoring
four of his five buckets from the paint. Samarrippas also scored 11
for the Golden Eagles, a career-best as a member of the Tech
basketball team for the point guard.
After dropping their first four contests of the 2013-14
campaign, the Buccaneers have really come on strong, winning each
of their last two contests; an 89-75 victory over Samford and a
66-58 decision over Stephen F. Austin.
Both W's came at home for East Tennessee State, part of a
three-game home stand that will come to an end Tuesday evening as
the Bucs head to Cookeville for the first time since 2011.
Leading the way for the Bucs this season have been Rashawn Rembert
and Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard. Rembert, a junior guard from Tampla,
Fla., leads the team with 13.7 points per game while hitting on
over 45 percent of his 3-point attempts.
Gadsden-Gilliard is a senior forward who pours in 13.5 points per
contest while also averaging 5.3 rebounds per game. He can also
shoot the 3-ball, connecting on 44 percent of his attempts. His
.821 performance at the charity stripe leads the team.
A.J. Merriweather, a freshman forward from Jackson, Tenn., has
been a beast on the boards for ETSU, averaging 7.5 rebounds per
game, with two thirds coming on the defensive glass. He nearly
averages a double-double, scoring 9.8 points per game on 50 percent
shooting from the field.
Off the bench, junior guard Jalen Riley has provided solid
production, averaging 9.5 points in just 12.7 minutes per game.
Forwards Lester Wilson and Hunter Harris wrap up the offensive
threats for the Bucs, scoring 8.5 and 8.2 points per game,
As far as the Golden Eagles are concerned, its been a
score-by-committee kind of approach as six players average at least
six points per game.
Leading the way is JUCO transfer Ty Allen, whose 13.0
points per game comes by way of nearly 42 percent shooting from the
floor. He also leads the team in free throw percentage with a mark
Junior big man and JUCO transfer Dwan Caldwell
has been a force this season, just missing out on double-doubles
three times. He leads the Golden Eagle squad with 7.0 rebounds per
game, including and impressive 29 offensive boards. He is tied for
second in scoring with 9.3 points and has blocked eight shots on
Joining Caldwell with 9.3 points per contest is another JUCO guy,
Carter. The junior forward has shown off his great athleticism
all over the floor, blocking nine shots and grabbing 12 steals
while pulling in 4.7 rebounds per game. He leads the team in field
goal percentage with an unworldly .775 mark.
Senior forward Dennis Ogbe has proven to be a leader both on and
off the floor despite battling several illnesses to start the year.
The Senior Class Award candidate is averaging 8.0 points and 6.4
rebounds per game in just 18.0 minutes of work per contest.
Redshirt sophomore Josiah Moore adds
7.7 points per game off the bench, adding a driver who can finish
around the basket while also hitting from the behind the arc.
Senior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas continues to lead the team
in both assists (25) and steals (13) while averaging 6.6 points per
As a team, Tech has been monstrous on the glass, out-rebounding
its opponents by over seven boards per game. The Golden Eagles are
also outscoring their opponents by over five points per contest and
have dished out more assists, forced more turnovers, and collected
more steals and blocks.