Golden Eagles spar with SIU Edwardsville in OVC opener

Golden Eagles face UT Martin Saturday afternoon

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. --- The last thing the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team expected in its opening Ohio Valley Conference game of the season was an opponent dropping 51 percent of its shots, but that's exactly what SIU Edwardsville brought to the table in its first ever conference game.

TTU took the loss as SIUE won the opening affair 83-68 Thursday evening in the Vadalabene Center.

Now boasting an 8-6 overall record, and a 0-1 OVC mark, Tech managed to trim an 11-point first half deficit into six with just 5:25 left in regulation behind some solid shooting from the line from several Golden Eagles.

Junior Jud Dillard notched a game-high 24 points and finished just one board shy of his fourth double-double of the season with nine.

Senior Zach Bailey also made his presence felt adding 16 points, 12 of which came in the second half. Senior Zac Swansey tallied 10 points to go along with his seven helpers and five rebounds.

The Cougars were guided by a quartet of players in their victory, including Kris Davis, who posted 19 points as he proved to be a dangerous outside presence going 5-of-6 from three point land. Jerome Jones notched a team-high 20 points, while bring down seven rebounds.

Mark Yelovich chimed in with his third career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Corey Wickware notched 12 points and nine assists.

SIUE ended the first half with an 11-point lead at 44-33 as the Cougars shot 60 percent from the field, including a 6-of-9 showing from three point range. Tech shot a solid 41.9 percent from the field but managed just one three point field goal in four attempts.

Down six with just 5:25 left in the second half, the Golden Eagles seemed poised to complete their comeback but Jones and Kevin Stineman combined for 16 of SIUE's final 19 points of the contest to secure the win for the Cougars.

SIUE's solid shooting continued in the second half as it managed a mark of 42.9 percent compared to Tech's 28.6 percent showing. TTU proved lethal at the line in the second half however, going 13-of-16 for a mark of 81.2 percent.

The Cougars owned the edge on the boards at 40-36, while Tech tallied eight steals and forced 19 SIUE turnovers.

The Golden Eagles continue OVC play Saturday as they travel to UT Martin for a 4 p.m. tip.