Chanticleers have wins over LSU, Clemson this season
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech will take a break from Ohio Valley Conference action to participate in the Sears BracketBusters on Saturday, playing at Coastal Carolina at 11 a.m. CST.
The Golden Eagles will be taking part in the BracketBusters for the seventh time and bring a 2-4 all-time record in the event into Saturday's matchup in Conway, S.C. The BracketBusters pit mid-major programs against a non-conference opponent with a similar resume toward the end of each season, with the goal of boosting the profiles of NCAA Tournament hopefuls.
Tech has never lost a home BracketBusters contest but has never won on the road, a streak it hopes to bring to an end against the Chanticleers, who are 18-8 overall and 11-5 in the Big South Conference coming into the contest. Tech is 17-11 overall and 9-6 in the OVC, holding down fourth place in the conference, a half-game behind Southeast Missouri and a half-game ahead of Morehead State.
Tech is 1-1 all-time against Coastal Carolina, with both games between the two squads coming in the 1987-88 season. CCU won the first game in Conway while the Golden Eagles took the return contest in Cookeville.
The Golden Eagles have faced one other Big South squad this season, winning 62-57 in overtime at High Point on Nov. 22.
Tech is coming off a 74-67 win over Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday night at Eblen Center, a victory which broke a two-game losing skid. Coastal Carolina is also coming off a win – a 74-69 victory over league-leading UNC Asheville -- but prior to that had lost three consecutive contests.
Coastal Carolina began its season with five consecutive victories, then extended its record to 9-1, beating LSU in Conway and edging Clemson in Clemson. The Chanticleers won seven out of eight games from Jan. 7 to Feb. 4 before beginning a three-game losing streak.
The Tech duo of senior guard Kevin Murphy and junior guard Jud Dillard continue to rank as the No. 3 scoring duo in NCAA Division I, combining to score 38.4 points per contest. Murphy leads the OVC and ranks 11th in the nation in scoring, averaging 20.4 points per game, while Dillard is third in the conference at 18.0 per contest.
Tech players lead the OVC in scoring as well as rebounding (Dillard, 8.8 p/g), assists (Zac Swansey, 6.0 p/g) and steals (Swansey, 2.2 p/g). The Golden Eagles rank first in the league in rebounding margin, out-boarding their opponents by an average of three rebounds per game.
CCU is led by junior guard Anthony Raffa, who scores 16.8 points per contest, and senior forward Chris Gradnigo, who averages 15.3 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds. Junior guard Kierre Greenwood also scores in double-figures for the Chanticleers, averaging 11.3 points per game.
Coastal Carolina ranks in the top 20 in the nation in two statistical categories – field goal percentage (49.3) and rebound margin (13th, +7.2).
Saturday's game will be broadcast on the Golden Eagle Sports Network, 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.