November 14, 2008

Golden Eagle men host Bryan to get season started

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Monday's exhibition win over Anderson College gave fans - and the Golden Eagle coaching staff - a good look at what to expect this season: Action!

While coach Mike Sutton and his staff must replace graduated seniors Anthony Fisher, Amadi McKenzie and Rashaud Nixon, the team knew it could look forward to the return of centers Daniel Northern and Ra'Shun Bryant, and guards Will Barnes, Frank Davis and Zac Walker.

What wasn't known was just how well the eight newcomers would fit into the scheme of things, and on Monday night the question was answered with resounding success.

Tech cruised to a 91-56 win as the newcomers played important roles on the floor, including 12 points from freshman Kevin Murphy. Redshirt sophomore Alex Davis led all scorers with 17 points in his return to the lineup after a two-year absence.

Tonight, the Golden Eagles take the next step, and this one counts. Tech opens the regular season by hosting the Bryan College Lions from Dayton, Tenn. The Golden Eagles play seven of their first eight here at home, so fans will get to know this team quickly.

Tech and Bryan have met three times in past years, and Tech leads the all-time series with wins in all three contests. The latest meeting came during the 2004-05 season, so none of this year's players have faced the Lions.

Tech's first win over Bryan came in the 1998-99 season under former coach Jeff Lebo, 93-68. Sutton's team made it two wins in 2002-03 with a 104-48 rout of the Lions, and in 2004-05 kept the record intact with a 79-45 decision.

Bryan split its first two games this season, falling to Reinhardt College (67-59) in the opener on Nov. 1, then coming back three nights later to defeat Tennessee Temple (68-57) by nearly the identical score. The Lions had two more games on the schedule this week before coming to Cookeville, hosting Johnson Bible College on Tuesday and visiting Lee University Thursday.

Davis, a 6-foot-7 sophomore from Milwaukee, returned to action after sitting out the spring semester of 2006-07 and all of last year. He was 8-for-11 from the field and led all scorers with 17 points in only 19 minutes on the floor.

Murphy, a 6-6 forward from Creekside High School in Fairburn, Ga., had a solid introduction to the college game, going 5-for-7 from the field and contributing 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Junior guard Will Barnes also had a big night against Anderson wit 11 points and six assists.

It was a balanced scoring effort for the Golden Eagles, who shot 58 percent for the game, including 69.7 percent in the second half. Tech also had a 36-31 lead in rebounds.

Besides those three in double figures, sophomore newcomer Alfred Jones had nine points, four players added seven points each - Daniel Northern, Elijah Muhammad, D.J Lindsay and Bassey Inameti.

Inameti was on the roster a year ago as a redshirt, while Northern was among team leaders last year when he topped the OVC in both rebounds and blocked shots. Northern was named to the preseason all-OVC team.

For Muhammad and Lindsay, it was the same situation as Murphy and Jones as all were playing in front of the Eblen Center crowd for the first time in their careers. Muhammad is a 6-foot junior guard from Columbus, Ohio, who comes to Tech from South Suburban College. Lindsay is a 6-foot-4 junior guard from Indianapolis who attended Lincoln College. Jones also came to Tech from Lincoln.

For the Golden Eagle men's team, tonight's game begins a busy stretch with three games coming up in a six-day span. On Tuesday (Nov. 18), Tech will play at Lipscomb University in Nashville, then come home to host Southern Utah on Saturday night (Nov. 22) and East Tennessee on Monday (Nov. 24).

Individual game tickets and season tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased at either the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets are also on sale online at TTUsports.com.