By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The first full road trip of the year finally draws to a close as the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team heads north for a bout with the Green Bay Phoenix. Tech will look to keep momentum going after defeating Lamar Sunday afternoon.
The contest against the Phoenix marks the fourth in-a-row for the Golden Eagles on the road as well as what will amount one of seven road contests in eight games for the Tech squad. Green Bay enters having won on the road over South Dakota to move to 6-3 on the year.
Tennessee Tech (6-6) at Green Bay (6-3)
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
7:00 p.m. CT
Resch Center (10,200) - Green Bay, Wis.
Radio: 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Setting the Stage
For the second straight contest, the Golden Eagles will face off against a team they have met just once before in the program's history. Tech will look for much of the same result from last season when the squad shut down the Green Bay Phoenix in Cookeville, 74-68.
The Last Time They Met
There were several heroic plays in the final minutes of last year's match-up for Tennessee Tech, but none was bigger than redshirt freshman Lanerryl Johnson's driving, scooping, change-his-hands layup in tall traffic with 24 seconds remaining for a four-point lead.
That edge held up as the Golden Eagles (5-3) withstood a hard-as-nails performance by Green Bay in Eblen Center, earning Tech a 74-68 non-conference victory. The Phoenix, a Horizon League power, slipped to 3-5 overall.
Senior Jud Dillard finished the night as the leading scorer with 23 points, playing the final two minutes with his head encircled by purple tape to hold a bandage in place over a gash on his chin. Johnson netted a career-best 22 points, hitting 3-for-5 from long range, and matched Dillard on the glass with a team-high six rebounds. Junior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas added 15 points and five assists.
What to Watch For
The Golden Eagles will look to grab its first road winning streak of the season as it heads north to the bay they call green. As for the Phoenix, they will try to continue their dominance at home this season, going 3-1, including a win over Virginia and the one loss coming by three points to nationally ranked Wisconsin.
Junior guard Ty Allen has played a key role in the success of the Tech team this season, leading the team in scoring with 12.2 points per game. He has recorded double-digit points in all but three contests this year.
Senior forward Dennis Ogbe averages the second most points on the team, putting up 9.9 while also grabbing 6.4 rebounds while shooting over 62 percent from the field.
Big man Dwan Caldwell has been huge for the Golden Eagles on the glass, leading Tech with 6.7 boards per contest. He also adds 9.8 points per game. Forward Ladon Carter has stepped up his game, recording his first career double-double at Lamar to up his averages to 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. The junior leads Tech with 17 blocks and 20 steals as well.
Point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas leads the Golden Eagles with 48 assists, but has also been clutch from the charity stripe. The senior leads the team with a 87 percent mark from the free throw line while averaging 7.6 points.
For Green Bay, Keifer Sykes has been the leading horse, averaging an incredible 21.6 points per game while also dishing out a team-high 44 assists.
Alec Brown (12.8 pts, 6.3 reb., 29 blk), Greg Mays (11.2 pts., 5.4 reb.), and Carrington Love (10.0 pts., 14 3-pointers) also put up double-figures and make up the large chunk of Green Bay's 75.4 points per game.
Something will give in this contest. Both Tech and Green Bay average at least 37 rebounds per game and both teams also own rebounding advantages over their opponents. Both teams also average at least 74 points per game, so this could be a high-scoring affair.