Golden Eagles host Appalachian State in BracketBuster return game

Golden Eagles host Appalachian State in BracketBuster return game

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Tech looks to improve to 2-1 on season

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Coming off Steve Payne's first official victory at the helm of the Golden Eagles Tuesday against Reinhardt, Tennessee Tech steps up in competition to host Appalachian State at 7 p.m. Saturday night in Eblen Center.

The game is a return of Tech's trip to Boone, N.C., for a BracketBuster game in February 2010. After opening against the ACC's Miami, then facing NAIA Reinhardt, the Golden Eagles will battle a program similar to their own in Appalachian State for the first time this season. It is the first of two consecutive games Tech will play against squads from the state of North Carolina — the Golden Eagles play at High Point on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

After a hotly contested 69-58 loss at Miami (Fla.), the Golden Eagles returned home to dispose of Reinhardt 94-64 on Tuesday, shooting 64.4 percent from the field and snatching 15 steals in the process. Jud Dillard led five Tech players in double-figures with 22 points, going 11-for-15 from the field.

Saturday's meeting against Appalachian State marks the seventh all-time between the two schools in a series that has been dominated by the homestanding squad. The Mountaineers are 3-0 against Tech in Boone while the Golden Eagles are 2-0 in Cookeville. The first meeting took place in 1977 on a neutral floor at the Poinsettia Classic in Greensboro, S.C., and was won by ASU.

The two teams were supposed to meet in the 2010-11 season in Cookeville as a BracketBuster return game, but an error on the part of the Southern Conference resulted in no referees present at Eblen Center at tip-off. The game was postponed to this season.

After two games, senior point guard Zac Swansey leads Tennessee Tech in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game after pouring in a game-high 19 against Miami in the opener. Two other Golden Eagles are averaging in double-figures — Kevin Murphy (13.0) and Jud Dillard (12.5). Senior center Liam McMorrow leads the Golden Eagles in rebounding, pulling down 6.5 boards per contest.

Appalachian State, which has also played two games, is led in scoring by senior guard Omar Carter, who is averaging 14.5 points per contest. Two other Mountaineers — junior forward Jamaal Trice (14.0) and senior forward Andre Williamson (13.0) are also scoring in double-figures. Carter and senior center Isaac Butts lead ASU in rebounding, both with 8.0 boards per game.

Appalachian State opened its season with a 90-61 win over Division II Lees-McRae, then traveled to East Tennessee State, falling 81-68 to the Buccaneers.

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.