COOKEVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Tech faces an opponent from a high-major conference for the second time this season when it travels to Pittsburgh, Pa., to face Duquesne in a 6 p.m. CST tip-off Saturday night.
The Golden Eagles take on a foe from the Atlantic 10 Conference this time after opening with the ACC's Miami and leading for the most of the second half before losing the advantage late and falling 69-58.
Tech is coming off a two-game homestand over Thanksgiving weekend in which it struggled, falling by 20 points to Lamar and narrowly edging out NAIA opponent Wilberforce for a one-point victory. The Golden Eagles have played well on the road this season, however, coming close to an upset at Miami and winning at High Point in overtime.
In the Golden Eagles' last outing against Wilberforce, Kevin Murphy went off, scoring 31 points while also pulling down six rebounds and going 8-for-9 at the free-throw line. Wilberforce rallied from 11 points down to cut the lead to two with 40 seconds remaining, but Murphy drew a foul with 13 ticks left on the clock and sank both free throws to put the lead back to four. Chris Olafioye hit a three-pointer as time expired to make the final score.
Saturday's matchup with Duquesne marks the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Tech is a respectable 5-7 all-time against current members of the Atlantic 10.
After six games, the Golden Eagles are led in scoring by Murphy, who is averaging 19.5 points per contest and is the OVC's second-leading scorer. Jud Dillard is also averaging in double-figures (16.2 ppg) and is the leading rebounder for both Tech and the OVC, pulling down 8.7 boards per contest.
Duquesne, which has played seven games, is paced offensively by junior guard Sean Johnson, who averages 16.9 points per outing. The Dukes have three other players scoring in double-figures — senior guard/forward B.J. Monteiro (14.3 ppg), sophomore guard T.J. McConnell (12.0 ppg) and senior guard Eric Evans (10.7 ppg). Duquesne is a by-committee rebounding club, with McConnell the team's leader at 4.4 boards per game.
The Dukes are 4-3 and coming off an 80-69 loss to crosstown rival Pittsburgh on Wednesday in what is known as "The City Game." Duquesne's victories have come over Louisiana-Lafayette, Akron, Green Bay and District of Columbia while its losses have come against Pittsburgh, Valparaiso and Arizona.
The Dukes play in the 4,400 capacity A.J. Palumbo Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
Saturday's game will be broadcast live on WHUB, AM 1400 and fans can also listen via Teamline by calling (216) 502-3200 and entering team code 0654. Cost is $5 per call.
Tech returns home to host East Tennessee State on Wednesday, Dec. 7. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.