By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A quick stop home before the holidays may be just what the doctor ordered for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team. The Golden Eagles, who are 4-1 in the Eblen Center this season, return for a Thursday match-up against Hillsdale (Okla.) College.
The contest, set for a 7 p.m. start time, will set the Golden Eagles back in Cookeville for the first time since Nov. 30 and the only time in the month of the December. Tech has three more road games slated following Thursday's contest.
Tennessee Tech (6-6) vs. Hillsdale (Okla.) College (4-4)
Thursday, Dec. 19, 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
Setting the Stage
It's been a roller coaster year for the Golden Eagles, having not won or lost more than two games in a row. Tech now owns a 6-7 record with just two more non-conference opponents left on the schedule. One is Hillsdale and the other is Utah Valley, who the Golden Eagles defeated 74-71 in Cookeville back on Nov. 11.
Just two years removed from winning its second straight NCCAA Division II National Championship, the Saints are still in a rebuild mode after winning just 12 games last season. Hillsdale is 4-4 on the year, with a 3-1 mark in NCCAA play.
What to Watch For
Tech will look to bounce back after suffering a stinging 76-49 defeat at the hands of Green Bay Tuesday evening. The Golden Eagles, who may be suffering a bit from jet lag after playing in both Texas and Wisconsin in the previous five days, will host the Spartans before returning to the road for three more games.
The Golden Eagles have been led all season by junior guard Ty Allen, who is averaging 11.4 points per game. He is followed by junior big man Dwan Caldwell who is scoring 9.7 point per contest while also pulling down 6.4 rebounds.
Senior forward and Senior Class Award candidate Dennis Ogbe leads the Tech bunch in rebounding, averaging 6.5 per game while also providing 9.5 points per contest. Fellow senior Jeremiah Samarrippas chips in 7.4 points per game while also dishing out just under four assists per game.
Huge on the glass this year, Tech has been out-rebounding its opponents by over six boards per contest. Those rebounds have to let to a plethora of scoring for the front line of the Golden Eagles as three of the top four scorers for Tech are forwards or post player.
As for the Saints, the team from Hillsdale is averaging a modest 84.1 points per game, but has struggled to stop other teams, allowing 85.8 points per game. Hillsdale actually averages 0.6 more rebounds per game than the Golden Eagles, grabbing 38.3 per contest.
The leading scorer for Hillsdale also happens to be the leading scorer in the NCCAA Division II level. Phil Carey averages 25.6 points per game, shooting 53.5 percent from the field while also pulling down 8.1 rebounds per game and making 2.5 steals.