Golden Eagles begin four-game home stand Thursday with UT Martin

Golden Eagles begin four-game home stand Thursday with UT Martin

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – With a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on the line, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team will look to take advantage of its one and only meeting against the UT Martin Skyhawks Thursday evening. The contest will mark the first of a four-game homestand for coach Steve Payne's Golden Eagles, a span that will wrap up the regular season for the team as it hunts for spot in the March 6-9 OVC Tourney.

UT Martin (7-18, 4-9)
Tennessee Tech (9-16, 3-10)
Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 / 7 p.m. CST
Eblen Center – Cookeville, Tenn.

The Broadcasts
Television: none
Radio: Fox Sports Radio, 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Live on OVC Digital Network (Brandon Goodwin)

The Last Meeting
The Golden Eagles will look to repeat last season's result when these two OVC birds met in Martin, Tenn., as Tech trounced the Skyhawks 85-62. Three Golden Eagle players recorded double-digit points in the contest, including Zach Bailey, Kevin Murphy, and current senior forward Jud Dillard.

Bailey chipped in 13 points off the bench as Murphy scored 18 on 6-of-11 shooting. Dillard had a fantastic contest, scoring 25 points and pulling down eight rebounds. He also recorded a then-career-high 11 free throws on 12 attempts.

Nine different Tech players scored on the night, proving to be the difference in the contest.

Myles Taylor led the Skyhawks in the game, scoring 26 points. Two other Martin players scored in double figures, as Mike Liabo and Jeremy Washington scored 14 and 10 points, respectively.

What to Watch For
UT Martin enters the contest allowing its opponents to score 76.0 points per game, a total the Golden Eagles will hope to eclipse despite only averaging 64.0 points per contest. On the flip side, the Skyhawks average just 66.3 points per game, a total that has been hard to come by for visitors of the Eblen Center of late. Tech hasn't allowed an opponent above 64 points since Jan. 5.

Leading the Skyhawks into Thursday's contest are Myles Taylor and Mike Liabo. Taylor averaged 16.9 points per contest while bringing down 8.0 rebounds per game. He is just one board shy of 200 for the season and also leads the team in blocks with 13.

Liabo ranks second for UT Martin with 12.9 points per game and sits atop the assists list with 53 for the season. Terence Smith scores 9.9 points each time out while knocking down 43 percent of his 3-point shots.

For the Golden Eagles, senior guard Jud Dillard leads the troups, scoring 19.0 points per game. He adds 8.0 rebounds per contest while ranking in the top five in both categories in the OVC. The Atlanta, Ga., native also knocks down 80.5 percent of his free throws.

Dennis Ogbe, a junior forward out of Munich, Germany, adds 9.8 points for the Golden Eagle offense and ranks second on the squad with 5.5 boards. He sits atop the Ohio Valley Conference in field goal percentage with an impressive mark of .586 for the season.

A transfer out of SMU, Jeremiah Samarrippas has been great at the point guard position this year, averaging 9.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest. He leads the Golden Eagles with 103 assists and 45 steals on the season. He is among the league's leaders in steals per game with nearly two per contest.

Tickets for the game are available by visiting or calling the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940).

Fans can tune in to 106.1 The Eagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Skyhawks on Thursday. Radio coverage will begin 15 minutes prior to the 7 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 UT Martin here.

SPECIAL EVENT for Honor Roll students

The game Thursday includes a special promotion to recognize students who are high achievers on the classroom. It's Academic Excellence Night, as Tech will introduce its more than 200 student-athletes who made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll for the Fall semester with GPAs of 3.0 or better.

All area elementary school (K-8) students who are on the Honor Roll are invited guests and receive free admission to the game.