COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It's crunch time for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team, as it hosts the Jacksonville State Gamecocks Saturday night looking for a much-needed Ohio Valley Conference win to stay in the hunt for a berth in the post-season tournament.
Jacksonville State (15-7, 7-4)
Tennessee Tech (8-14, 2-8)
Saturday, Feb. 9, 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
The Last Meeting
Just days after Christmas, the Golden Eagles opened up Ohio Valley Conference play in Jacksonville, Ala., against Jacksonville State. The game marked the fifth game in a row that the Tech squad had played on the road, having not had a home contest in nearly three weeks.
The Gamecocks took advantage of the home court advantage, posting 83 points in the contest. Four Jax State players scored in double figures, including Brian Williams (18), Darion Rackley (16), Tarvin Gaines (15), Ronnie Boggs (14).
Tennessee Tech was led by senior guard Jud Dillard and junior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas. The two combined for 23 points in the game. Dillard also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Setting the Stage
Despite being ineligible for post season play, the Gamecocks haven't let that hold back their defense, limiting their opponents to 61.9 points per game. The team averages 8.7 steals per contest and forces better than three more turnovers than its opponents.
The team also has had no trouble scoring, boasting four players averaging double digits. Gaines leads the group with 15.0 points per game and adds a solid 5.1 rebounds per contest. Rackley comes in second on the team with 14.0 points each contest. He's also the team's best 3-point shooter, hitting 41.5 percent from behind the arc.
Williams averages 12.5 per game and also leads the team with 92 assists over 35.0 minutes per contest. Boggs leads the team in rebounds, pulling down 5.6 per game and adds 11.7 points. All four players average over 30 minutes of playing time per game.
Leading the Golden Eagles is Dillard, who ranks second in the league in scoring with 19.4 points per game. He also ranks in the top five of the OVC in rebounding, grabbing 7.8 per contest. In Tech's last contest, he recorded his eighth double-double of the season, matching his total from all of last season.
Second on the team is junior forward Dennis Ogbe. The CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team award winner posts 9.1 points and 5.5 boards per contest. He has played especially well of late, recording his first career double-double at Tennessee State with 17 points and 12 rebounds. He also added a career-best five blocks. At Belmont, he scored a career-high 19 points and added 7 rebounds.
Samarrippas averages 9.0 points per game for the Golden Eagles, despite being hampered of late by an ankle injury. He leads Tech with 90 assists and 39 steals on the season.
Tickets for the game are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Several special promotions will be held at the game, so check for details on discount or free tickets.
Fans can tune in to 106.1 The Eagle to listen to live coverage of Tech's contest against the Gamecocks 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 Jacksonville State here.