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January 20, 2012

Golden Eagles look to salvage homestand split against red-hot SEMO

Tech owns 29-13 edge in all-time series versus Redhawks

Click here to view game notes (PDF)

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. ­– Tennessee Tech will look to rebound from a last-second loss at the hands of Jacksonville State Thursday night with a victory against Southeast Missouri on Saturday. The game is the back end of this week's two-game homestand and is set to tip off at 7:30 p.m. immediately following the women's game.

Against the Redhawks, who are 5-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference and sit in second in league play, Tech will be looking to stop a two-game skid. SEMO has won two consecutive games and six of its last seven. The Golden Eagles are 11-8 overall and 3-3 in OVC play and sit in sixth in the conference.

Tech's backcourt duo of Kevin Murphy and Jud Dillard continue to pull impressive rank in national statistical categories. Coming into Thursday's games, Murphy and Dillard made up the No. 2 scoring duo in NCAA Division I. After Thursday's contest, the pair is averaging a combined 37.4 points per game (Murphy at 19.0 and Dillard at 18.4).

Against Jacksonville State on Thursday, the Golden Eagles led by six with just more than six minutes left to play, but allowed JSU to get back in the game down the stretch. Tech held a 62-60 advantage with six seconds remaining, but Dion Waiters delivered a last-second layup that also drew a foul, tying the game. Waiters connected on the free-throw to give the Gamecocks a one-point advantage and the victory.

Saturday's game marks the 43rd meeting between Tech and Southeast Missouri, a series Tech has controlled. The Golden Eagles lead the all-time series with the Redhawks, 29-13, and will be looking for their second-straight win over SEMO. The two squads split the season series in 2010-11, with the Golden Eagles winning in Cape Girardeau and SEMO taking the victory at Eblen Center.

In the last meeting between the two teams, the Golden Eagles raced out to an early double-digit lead and never trailed in the game, fending off a late rally by the home team to claim a 93-86 victory. Zach Bailey was the spark for Tech, topping four Golden Eagles who scored in double figures in the high-scoring affair. Bailey went 11-for-12 at the free throw line on the way to netting 23 points.

Murphy leads Tech in scoring, averaging 19.0 points per game while Dillard is the OVC rebounding leader, pulling down 8.9 rebounds per game. Zac Swansey leads the OVC and the team in assists with 5.7 helpers per game while also leading the league and ranking ninth nationally in steals with 2.6 per contest.

Three SEMO players are scoring in double-figures this season, led by sophomore forward Tyler Stone, who averages 15.1 points per game and is also tied for the team lead in rebounding, pulling down 6.8 boards per contest. Junior guard Marland Smith contributes 12.0 points per game while senior forward Leon Powell is scoring 11.6 and also grabbing 6.8 rebounds per game.

SEMO's 5-1 start in league play is their best since opening the 1999-00 season 9-1. The Redhawks rank eighth nationally in field-goal percentage (49.8) and have shot better than 50 percent in every OVC game this season. The team is first in the OVC and 26th nationally in assists (16.1).

For ticket information for Saturday's game, call (931) 372-3940 or visit www.TTUSports.com. The game will be broadcast live on WCTE-TV around the Upper Cumberland region as well as over the airwaves on the Golden Eagle Sports Network, WHUB AM 1400 and on the Internet at www.1400TheHub.com. A live web stream is available at OVCSports.tv. Fans can also listen via Teamline by calling (216) 502-3200 and entering team code 0654. Cost is $5 per call.