By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Thursday evening kicks off a nice home stretch for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team as the Golden Eagles will host the Indiana-Kokomo Cougars in a 7 p.m. CT bout in the Eblen Center.
The contest marks the first of four straight home games for the Tech squad, something the team will want to take advantage of before it hits a grueling patch of its schedule in December. From Dec. 5 to Jan. 4, the Golden Eagles will play seven of their eight contests on the road.
Tech returns to the hardwood after a long weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas where the Golden Eagles participated in the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament. Host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi went on to win the tournament, despite collecting its only loss at the hands of the Golden Eagles. Tech finished 1-2 in the event, losing a heart-breaker in the tournament opener as Texas-Pan American hit a desparation 45-footer at the buzzer for a three-point victory.
Indiana-Kokomo, who enters its third season in program history and second as an NAIA affiliate, sits at 0-6 on the year, struggling to win some close calls early in the year.
Tennessee Tech (2-3) vs. Indiana-Kokomo (0-6)
Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013
7:00 p.m. CT
Eblen Center (9,280) - Cookeville, Tenn.
Radio: 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Webcast: Golden Eagle Sports Network on the OVC Digital Network (Roger Ealey)
Setting the Stage
Today marks the first-ever meeting between the Golden Eagles and the Cougars, and only the second meeting for Kokomo with a Division I opponent. IUK played against IPFW earlier this month as an agreement from the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament.
The Cougars boast two double-digit scorers this season as seniors Spencer Krhin and Dylan Mosack each put up at least 10 points per game.
Krhin (10.3 ppg), leads Kokomo in field goals, free throws, and 3-pointers while averaging just over 25 minutes of action per contest. The guard has been on a tear defensively, blocking a team-high seven shots and making six steals to go along with seven assists.
Mosack (10.0 ppg) is a methodical scorer, hitting at a .609 clip from the field while also hitting the glass for 5.8 rebounds per game. The big man has played just four games this season.
Big on the boards for the Cougars this season, junior David Kelly is pulling in a team-best 6.2 per contest while contributing 6.7 points per game.
Sophomore guard Jerome Lawrence has spent the most time on the hardwood for Kokomo this season, averaging 29.7 minutes in six starts. He is an all-around athlete scoring 7.8 points per contest and leads the Cougars with 12 assists and 11 steals. He also averages 3.3 rebounds.
IUK has distributed the scoring well throughout the early parts of the 2013-14 season as seven players average over five points per game. They also have the ability to block shots, rejecting 20 this season so far for 3.3 per game.
The Golden Eagles have also made good use of spreading the ball around as seven Tech players average at least five points per contest.
Leading Tech in scoring is JUCO transfer Ty Allen. The junior guard averages 13.8 points per game while shooting an impressive .431 from the field.
Following Allen in scoring is another JUCO product, junior forward Ladon Carter. Proven to be an athletic juggernaut with his timely blocks and highlight-reel dunks, Carter is averaging 9.2 points each time out on an incredible and league-leading .786 shooting. He's pulling down 4.6 rebounds, blocking more than one shot per game, and forcing more than one steal per contest.
Yet another JUCO newbie has made an impact for the Golden Eagles as Dwan Caldwell, who earned all-tournament honors at the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Tournament in Corpus Christi, Texas, has provided an offensive punch in his time on the floor. He puts up 8.2 points per game while collecting 6.2 boards. More than half of his rebounding total this season has come on the offensive glass, giving Tech a dangerous second-chance scorer.
Not to be left out, senior forward Dennis Ogbe also scores 8.2 points per game while leading the Tech squad with 7.6 rebounds per contest. The Senior Class Award candidate has struggled with a number of illnesses to start the season, limiting him to just 19.4 minutes of action per game, but he showed signs of last season's career-numbers in his most recent game, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds.
Senior Jeremiah Samarrippas has been a true leader at the point guard position, leading the team in both steals (2.4) and assists (4.6) per game. He leads the team in free throw percentage, nailing over 85 percent of his attempts. Samarrippas also scores 7.6 points per game, providing another capable scorer for the Golden Eagles.
For those fans looking to listen to the game, it will be broadcast in its entirety immediately following the women's game at Mississippi State which is at 7 p.m. CT.
Being honored during halftime will be the Tennessee Tech baseball team. The Golden Eagle squad will receive its championship rings after winning the Ohio Valley Conference's regular season title.