COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For basketball fans of great heritage and history, it doesn't get much better than Thursday night as the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team continues its bitter rivalry with the Racers of Murray State in front of a national TV audience, courtesy of ESPNU.
Murray State (14-4, 5-1)
Tennessee Tech (7-11, 1-5)
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 / 7 p.m. CST
Eblen Center – Cookeville, Tenn.
Television - ESPNU (Rich Hollenberg and Adrian Branch)
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Live on WatchESPN.com
Setting the Stage
In what marks one of the oldest and most notable rivalries in Ohio Valley Conference history, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and Murray State Racers will meet for the 170th installment in the series Thursday evening. For the second consecutive season, the contest between the two teams will be telecast nationally on ESPNU.
There will be plenty of headlines circling what could be the only match-up between these two historic OVC programs of the season, not limited to the play of All-American Isaiah Canaan and preseason all-OVC selection Jud Dillard. With several NBA scouts expected to be in attendance, the two all-star guards will bring their A-game for the national television audience's viewing pleasure. Scoring is expected to be one of just several story lines for the evening as the OVC's top two scorers, Canaan and Dillard, rank No. 1 and 2 respectively, face-off for what will be the final time of their careers in regular season play.
Both players have experienced success against each other throughout their careers. In eight games over three seasons, Canaan has averaged 14.0 points per contest. Dillard puts up 12.4 points each time against the Racers, but also rebounds the ball well, bringing down 7.0 boards per contest against Murray State.
After meeting for the first time in 1930, this rivalry hasn't missed a beat, hosting games between the two programs every year except 1945. The series marks the longest in Tech history as well as most games played against one opponent by the Golden Eagles.
|2008-09||@ Murray, Ky.
|2009-10||@ Murray, Ky.
|2010-11||@ Murray, Ky.
|2011-12||@ Murray, Ky.
Murray owns a commanding lead over Tech, 122-47 including both the first and most recent meetings. Despite the advantage owned by Murray State, this series has seen primarily close contests, nail-biters, and instant classics, one of which includes last season's match-up in Cookeville that saw the Golden Eagles nearly take down the then No. 12 ranked Racers.
For the third time in the 2011-12 season, Murray State and Tennessee Tech faced off, this time in the most important meeting of the year. The two squads battled for a place in the OVC Tournament Championship game. The Racers emerged victorious, eventually claiming the championship and earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
A former Golden Eagle and current member of the NBA's Utah Jazz, Kevin Murphy led all players with 31 points in the contest and attained a historic milestone, scoring his 2,000th career point. He became just the second player in program history to eclipse the double C-note mark and became the second leading scorer in the Golden Eagle record books.
The Racers would finish with three players in double figures in the contest, including 25 for Donte Poole, 18 for Isaiah Canaan, and 11 for Ed Daniel. Current Golden Eagle, Jud Dillard, scored eight points and pulled down seven boards.
This season, Murray State comes into the contest having won its last three games. The Racers own a 5-1 record in OVC play and rank in the top three of nearly every offensive category. They boast a potent offense that scores 73.8 points per game, second in the league and 52nd in the nation.
In their last contest, the Racers downed the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville, despite trailing at halftime. Canaan nearly put together a double-double on the night, recording 20 points and nine assists. Ed Daniel, who leads the league in the category, recorded his 10th of the year with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles played just once last week, falling to Southeast Missouri on the road, 74-62. The team returns home to the Eblen Center for the first time in three games and will look to grab its second OVC victory of the season and first over Murray State since the 2010-11 conference semifinals.
Leading Tech into battle will be Dillard, who on top of averaging 19.6 points per game, including over 20 per contest in OVC play, has averaged 7.7 rebounds this season to lead the Golden Eagles. He ranks fifth in the conference in the category and raises that number to 8.3 in OVC games.
He is joined by junior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas as a double-digit scorer in conference contests. The SMU transfer puts up 10.0 points and dishes out 4.3 assists each time out against OVC competition.
Fans can tune in to 106.1 The Eagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Racers 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 WatchESPN.com here.
To read more about the upcoming game and Tennessee Tech basketball, take a look at the game notes for the match-up against Murray State here.