COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – After turning in its best performance of the season Wednesday in an 83-74 victory over East Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech will attempt to make it two in a row against another in-state rival Saturday at Eblen Center.
The Golden Eagles wrap up a two-game homestand with a 7 p.m. tip-off against the Bisons at the Hoop, their final home appearance before embarking on a six-game road trip that will take them through the Christmas and New Year's holidays.
With a win Saturday, Tech could not only head into the road trip with an above-.500 record, but also avenge a close loss to Lipscomb a season ago. Tech is now 3-2 at home this season.
In their last outing, the Golden Eagles put together their best overall team performance of the season, distancing themselves from the Buccaneers with a 14-2 run to begin the second half and open up a 20-point lead. Tech led by double-digits into the final minute before ETSU closed the gap. The 83 points Tech scored was its highest offensive output of the season against a Division I opponent, and the Golden Eagles held a nine-rebound advantage while shooting 55 percent from the field and 9-for-11 from three-point range. Kevin Murphy led TTU with 23 points.
Saturday's matchup with Lipscomb marks the 44th all-time meeting between the two squads, a series that has been dominated by the Golden Eagles, though many of those games were played before Lipscomb's transition to Division I in 1999. Tech holds a 3-1 record against the Bisons since the Nashville school moved up in classification.
Most recently, however, Lipscomb got the best of Tech in a 98-94 affair at Eblen Center. The Bisons shot lights-out in the game, hitting 57 percent from the field in the first half and upping that percentage to 79 in the second. Lipscomb built a 96-84 lead with 47 seconds left before Tech cut into the advantage. Jordan Burgason led Lipscomb with 28 points while Zach Bailey and Jud Dillard each scored 15 for the Golden Eagles.
After eight games this season, Kevin Murphy leads Tech in scoring, averaging 19.8 points per game. Jud Dillard is also scoring in double-figures, tossing in 15.6 points per contest and grabbing a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game.
Lipscomb has four players averaging in double-figures, led by Jordan Burgason, a senior guard from Ames, Iowa, who scores an average of 14.4 points per contest. Freshman guard Zavion Williams averages 11.9 points per game while sophomore guard Robert Boyd contributes 11.2 and freshman forward Malcolm Smith scores 11.0. Senior center Justin Glenn leads the Bisons in rebounding with 6.4 boards per contest.
Lipscomb sits at 6-4 on the season and 1-1 in the Atlantic Sun. The Bisons are 3-0 against Ohio Valley Conference competition with victories over UT Martin and Austin Peay in Nashville and a win over SIU Edwardsville at the Cancun Challenge. After beating Fort Valley State to open the season, the Bisons lost three straight against Gardner-Webb, Illinois and Illinois State before recovering to win three straight and five out of their next six.
Tickets for Saturday's game are available at the Eblen Center box office or by calling (931) 372-3940. The game will be broadcast live on WHUB, AM 1400 and on the Internet at www.1400TheHub.com. Fans can also listen via Teamline by calling (216) 502-3200 and entering team code 0654. Cost is $5 per call.
After hosting the Bisons, the Golden Eagles take a week off for finals before traveling to Evansville on Saturday, Dec. 17.