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November 15, 2011

Fresh off close call at Miami, Golden Eagles open home slate against Reinhardt

Tip-off set for 7 p.m. at Eblen Center

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — After leading Miami (Fla.) for the majority of the second half in Friday's season-opener, Tennessee Tech returns to the friendly confines of Eblen Center for its home opener against Reinhardt at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The game marks the home debut for first-year Golden Eagle head coach Steve Payne as Tech will attempt to even its record to 1-1 in the first of a two-game homestand that concludes on Saturday, Nov. 19 against Appalachian State.

While the game against Reinhardt, a member of the NAIA Appalachian Athletic Conference, counts in the standings for the Golden Eagles, it will serve as an exhibition contest for Reinhardt.

On Friday, the Golden Eagles pushed Miami, picked to finish fifth in the ACC, to the brink of an upset on the Hurricanes' home floor in Coral Gables. Tech used a 16-3 run over the final nine minutes of the first half to build a 32-27 lead at halftime.

TTU maintained its advantage into the second half and extended it to a game-high nine points around the 12-minute mark. The Golden Eagles led by six with less than eight minutes remaining, but a three-point play by the Hurricanes turned the tide and Miami finally took the lead at the 4:26 mark.

Tuesday's game against Reinhardt marks the third-ever meeting between the two schools, located about three hours apart. Both meetings have taken place in Cookeville, where the Golden Eagles cruised to easy victories on both occasions, winning 92-46 in 2000-01 and 109-49 in 2001-02.

After one game, senior guard Zac Swansey leads the Golden Eagles in both scoring and assists. He dropped in 19 points against Miami on 7-for-11 shooting and went 5-for-8 from three-point range while dishing out three assists. Junior Jud Dillard leads Tech in rebounding after pulling down six boards against the Hurricanes.

Senior guard David Lawson leads Reinhardt in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game through five contests this season. He also leads the Eagles in assists with 3.0 per outing. Senior Tyler Blackwell is Reinhardt's rebounding leader, averaging 6.2 boards per contest.

The Eagles are 3-2 on the season but have lost two of their last three, suffering a 70-63 setback against Asbury on Nov. 12.

Tuesday's game will be broadcast live on WHUB, AM 1400 and a live webstream will be available on OVCSports.TV. Fans can also listen via Teamline by calling (216) 502-3200 and entering team code 0654. Cost is $5 per call.

Fans can still purchase season tickets for Golden Eagle basketball at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center, or by calling (931) 372-3940.