Fans have rollicking good time at Purple Palooza (and players, too)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- It's difficult to determine just who had the most fun Tuesday night at Tennessee Tech's Halloween-themed Purple Palooza, the fans in the stands or the players on the floor. Costumes were fantastic, and the teams got a chance to show off some of their ball skills.

About 1,000 fans joined the festivities as coaches Jim Davis and Steve Payne introduced their players, and the teams each went through 10-minutes scrimmages.

After the men's squad had finished it's "dunk fest" that featured a dozen dunks, the two teams combined for a 3-point/slam dunk challenge. Molly Heady, a senior on the women's squad, had the hottest hand by draining 11 3-pointers during her 30-second opportunity. She wasn't alone, however, as fans got an eyeful of 3-pointers by both the men's and women's participants.

The contest came down to the final dunks, and Ladon Carter (photo at left), a junior newcomer on the men's team, emphatically decided the contest with three 10's by the judges for his performance.

The night featured drawings for prizes, along with numerous "best costume" winners in a variety of categories.

It began with an hour of trick-or-treating around the concourse, with student and community groups decorating tables and handing out treats. The kids responded in a huge way, displaying some outstanding costumes. Many of the Tech Athletics staff also donned costumes to add to the frivolity.

Fans also had a chance to select seats for purchasing season tickets. The available seats were marked and fans took the tags and turned them into the ticket office to purchase season tickets. Three dozen season tickets were purchased during the evening's event.

Tickets remain on sale, with the schedule about to get underway next Tuesday night (Nov. 5) as the women's team hosts Truett-McConnell in an exhibition game. The regular season starts for the women's squad on Saturday, Nov. 9, with a visit from Tennessee Wesleyan for a 7 p.m. contest.

The home opener for coach Steve Payne's men's team is Tuesday, Nov. 12, in a unique doubleheader with the TTU volleyball team. The volleyball match, which features free admission, begins at 5:30 p.m. The Golden Eagle men's team hosts Loyola Chicago at 7:30 p.m., and fans who are in Eblen Center before the end of the second set of the volleyball match can stay free for the basketball game.

The night will also feature a 50-year celebration of the 1963 Golden Eagle basketball team, which faced Loyola Chicago in the 1963 NCAA Tournament.

For tickets or more information, please visiti or call the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center at (931) 372-3940.

Here's a glimpse of just a sampling of the fun in Eblen Center at Purple Palooza, with more photos below: