EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – With a view of the St. Louis Arch not far away, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team is hoping it can use its first Ohio Valley Conference victory as a gateway to another win as the team takes on the Cougars of SIUE in Edwardsville, Ill. Saturday evening.
Tennessee Tech (7-9, 1-3)
SIU Edwardsville (4-9, 0-3)
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 / 7 p.m. CST
Vadalabene Center – Edwardsville, Ill.
Television - none
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Live on the OVC Digital Network
Setting the Stage
Tech will look to make it two-in-a-row Saturday evening as the Golden Eagles travel south to take on the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville. TTU is coming off of its first OVC victory on Thursday night, a 77-73 come-from-behind win at Eastern Illinois.
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The youngest series by far among OVC opponents for Tech, the Cougars and Golden Eagles have met just four times. SIU Edwardsville is entering just its second season as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, as is looking to finally make some headway against the Golden Eagles.
In their four meetings, the Cougars have managed to win just once, an 83-68 home victory in last season’s first contest between the two programs.
This has not been a tight series, as all four contests have been decided by double digits. The closest contest was a 13-point, Golden Eagle conquest in the first meeting between the two programs.
Saturday’s match-up will mark the third contest to take place in the Vadalabene Center, with SIU Edwardsville and Tennessee Tech tied at 1-1.
History was made that last time the Cougars and Golden Eagles faced off. After suffering their first loss to SIUE in the earlier meeting of last season, the Golden Eagles exacted revenge, blowing out the Cougars by 18 points at home.
Former Golden Eagle Kevin Murphy set a Tech record in the contest, giving the best scoring performance in program history with 50 points. His point total would finish the year as the highest single-game scoring performance in all of Division I basketball.
Zac Swansey, another former Tech player, recorded an incredible 14 assists in the contest. Current guard Javon McKay finished second on the team with 15 points while also recording five boards.
SIU Edwardsville will host the Golden Eagles following a tough 13-point loss at home to Jacksonville State. The loss was made especially tough after the Cougars led by as many as nine in the second half.
Leading SIUE in scoring was senior Jerome Jones. The forward had 15 points on six-of-12 shooting with eight rebounds. A sophomore guard, Michael Messer nearly recorded a double-double against the Gamecocks, scoring 14 and pulling down nine in the contest.
On the season, Jones leads the Cougars offensive efforts, averaging 15.3 points per game while also pulling down 5.2 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Kris Davis takes the spot as the second highest scorer on the team, adding 10.5 points per contest to the Cougar offense.
Derian Shaffer, a senior forward from Detroit, Mich., leads SIU Edwardsville with 5.5 rebounds per game. He also nets 7.2 points each time out.
A 15-point deficit was not enough to put away the Golden Eagles as the team fought back from the large deficit to earn its first OVC victory. Leading the charge were a trio of guards.
Setting several career-highs in the game, local Cookeville product Mitchell Hill was crucial to Tech comeback, providing a huge spark on defense while nailing three shots from behind the arc. He played a career-high 29 minutes.
Also showing up strong for the Golden Eagles was junior guard Jeremiah Samarrippas. The transfer from SMU scored just seven points, but he was crucial in distributing the ball, racking up eight dimes in the contest for his highest mark in a Tech uniform. Incredibly, he did it all without committing a single turnover.
Perhaps the strongest showing in the game was senior guard Jud Dillard who tied a career-high 34 points, including 22 in the second half alone. He hit the go-ahead bucket with two seconds remaining to give Tech its first win of the 2013 year.
On the season, Dillard is leading the Golden Eagle attack with 19.2 points per game. He also leads Tech with 7.4 rebounds per contest. Samarrippas adds 10.4 points each time out while averaging over four assists a game.
Fans can tune in to 106.1 The Eagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Panther on Thursday. Radio coverage will begin 15 minutes prior to the 7:00 p.m. CST tip-off time. Fans can also view the live game feed on the OVC Digital Network, the Ohio Valley Conference's live webstream for free here.
To read more about the upcoming game and Tennessee Tech basketball, take a look at the game notes for the match-up against Eastern Illinois here.