COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Nothing would be bigger for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team right now than to grab its first home victory in Ohio Valley Conference play over long-time, in-state rival Austin Peay. The two meet Saturday evening for the 137th time, and someone will walk away with the series lead when it is all over.
Austin Peay (5-16, 1-6)
Tennessee Tech (7-12, 1-6)
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013 / 7:30 p.m. CST
Eblen Center – Cookeville, Tenn.
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Live on OVC Digital Network
Setting the Stage
Perhaps the biggest on-going rivalry in Tech men's hoops, every time the Golden Eagles and Governors meet the match-up turns into an instant classic. The previous 10 meetings alone provide all there is to know about this series, which after 136 contests since 1941-42, sits deadlocked in a 68-68 tie.
Going back to the 2007-08 season, Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech have gotten together 10 times. The first four of those meetings went to Peay. The next two were split, with both programs earning homecourt victories. But now, it's the Golden Eagles who have the momentum, winning the last four games between these long-time, in-state foes.
|2007-08||@ Clarksville, Tenn.||L||80-76|
|2008-09||@ Clarksville, Tenn.||L||87-71|
|2009-10||@ Clarksville, Tenn.||L||77-72|
|2009-10||@ Clarksville, Tenn.||W||68-65|
|2010-11||@ Clarksville, Tenn.||W||71-68|
|2011-12||@ Clarksville, Tenn.||W||94-88|
The battles between these programs can be a staple for what a rilvary should look like. Since 2007-08, only one game has been decided by double digits. There have been many memorable moments pitting the Governors and Golden Eagles against each other. Most recently, former Tech point guard Zac Swansey earned a spot on ESPN's Top Ten Plays, nailing a trey with two seconds left to defeat the Govs by three in Clarksville.
Just one year prior, former Golden Eagle great Kevin Murphy took down Peay with an incredible, buzzer-beating 3-pointer that knocked the Governors out of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Both games were decided by three points.
While Tech and Peay met just once in 2011-12, the two programs did not disappoint, putting together another classic battle, and a barn-burner at that. The Golden Eagles scored 94 points, their second-highest total of the season, to bury the Governors by six in Clarksville. It marked the third straight contest that TTU dropped its OVC foe in the Dunn Center.
It was a picture perfect night of shooting for the Golden Eagles as two of the OVC’s top scorers in Kevin Murphy (1st) and Jud Dillard (4th) put up huge numbers. Coming off a Tech-record and NCAA season best 50-point performance over SIUE, Murphy kept the offense rolling with 34 points on the night.
Dillard nabbed then career-marks in points (29) and free throws (13). He missed just one shot from the charity stripe on the night. He also tallied nine rebounds.
With a shift in conference alignment due to the addition of Belmont this season, this historic rivalry limits the match-ups to just one each regular season. Less opportunities for war will just add fuel to fire as this is one of the most unpredictable series in the Ohio Valley Conference. Fans better believe that both squads will leave everything out on the court in this match-up.
This game won’t go down as the most anticipated match-up of the year in OVC play, as both Tech and Peay own just one conference win apiece. However, it very well could be one of the most entertaining. With both teams hungry for that next win, another battle in the tangle between these two squads is sure to commence.
The Governors are still looking for their first road win of the season, sitting at 0-8 on the year away from the Dunn Center. The Golden Eagles are in no way looking to become the first road casulaty for Peay and will look to end their own little skid, having lost their last three games at home.
Despite shooting 55 percent from the field in their game against Jacksonville State Thursday evening, the Govs fell by seven to the Gamecocks, who forced Peay into a 1-6 OVC record. The team also out-rebounded JSU 32-21, but couldn’t overcome 17 turnovers and a 54 percent shooting night from their opponent.
Four Peay players finished in double-figures, with Travis Betran and Chris Horton each putting up 18 points. Will Triggs and Anthony Campbell added 16 and 13 points, respectivley. Horton grabbed a double-double by nabbing 10 boards on the night.
The Golden Eagles played their best defensive game of the year against Murray State, holding the OVC’s second-best scoring offense to just 47 points and 34 percent shooting. The pesky Tech defenders forced 23 turnovers against the Racers, a season-high for a team that averaged just 14 heading into the match-up. TTU couldn’t overcome a tough shooting night, however, knocking down just 25.5 percent of its shots from the field.
For the 14th time this season, senior guard Jud Dillard led the Tech scoring effort with 12 points. Junior forward Dennis Ogbe added 10 of his own despite being limited to 24 minutes of action due to foul trouble. A native out of Brooklyn, N.Y., Matt Marseille pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Senior big man Terrell Barnes set a career-high on the night with five steals.
This year’s installment in the series pits two of the OVC’s best against one another. Betran, a junior guard from Harlem, N.Y., ranks fourth in the conference in scoring with 17.5 points per contest. Meanwhile, Dillard is posting 19.2 points each game, good for second in the conference.
Tech will want to watch out for Anthony Campbell and Will Triggs, a couple of fowards that both average over 10 points per game. Five-time OVC Freshman of the Week Chris Horton leads the Govs in rebounding, pulling down 6.6 per contest.
For the Golden Eagles, Dillard leads the effort on the glass, ranking fifth in the conference with 7.4 boards per game.
Fans can tune in to 106.1 The Eagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Governors on Saturday. Radio coverage will begin 15 minutes prior to the 7:30 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 Austin Peay here.