By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Nine out of 10 times, what happens in Vegas should definitely stay in Vegas. But in this case, the Golden Eagles would love to have the same success it had in Las Vegas two years ago when Tech won the Las Vegas Classic.
It was the first and only regular-season tournament championship for the Golden Eagles in the modern era and this year they will look to repeat the performance with a three-game event in Corpus Christi, Texas this weekend. Tech will compete in the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Basketball Tournament against Texas-Pan American, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, and IPFW.
Game One for the Golden Eagles pits them against the Broncs of Texas-Pan American, the first match-up between the two schools in over 40 years. The game will begin at 5 p.m. CT on Friday, Nov. 15. Game Two for Tech will feature a 5:30 p.m. contest against host Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Saturday. TTU will wrap up the event with a 1 p.m. tilt against IPFW on Sunday.
Tennessee Tech (2-2) vs. IPFW (2-2)
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013
1:00 p.m. CT
American Bank Center (8,100) - Corpus Christi, Texas
Radio: 106.1 The Eagle (Dylan Vazzano)
Setting the Stage
Today marks the first-ever meeting between the Golden Eagles and the Mastodons, a match-up that will play a key factor in deciding the winner of the Holiday Inn Downtown Marina Islanders Tournament.
Tech hasn't played many teams from the Summit League, (just two ever), and owns a 1-2 record all time against the league. The Golden Eagles also have a close record against teams from the state of Indiana, falling just under .500 with a 19-23 mark.
IPFW welcomed the return of Luis Jacobo with open arms Saturday as the senior came back from injury to explode for a game-high 24.0 points in a 66-60 win over Texas-Pan American. The forward added seven rebounds, proving he will be a force to reckon with in today's game action.
The Golden Eagles also need to watch out for forward Steve Forbes. The junior, who stands a massive 6-9, 320 pounds, has used his girth to score 13.0 point per game this year on 77 percent shooting.
Two more Mastodons average double-digits including sophomore forward Joe Reed (11.5 and 6.8 rebounds) and senior guard Pierre Bland (10.5 and 4.3 assists).
As a team, IPFW has played well both on offense and defense in its two victories this season, holding its opponents to 62 or fewer points while averaging 78 on offense. The two losses for the Mastodons have been excruciating, losing on a buzzer-beater to Dayton in the season opener, and dropping a 72-71 thriller to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on a bucket with three seconds to go.
Tech bounced back nicely Saturday evening after falling victim to its own buzzer-beating disaster on Friday as Texas-Pan American drilled a 45-foot prayer to steal an 81-78 win. The Golden Eagles took down tournament host Corpus Christi by a two-point margin, playing stifling defense along the way.
Several Golden Eagles have proven capable of leading the scoring effort, which has been distributed nicely through the first four games of the season. Four different Tech players have taken turns sharing the scoring lead as the Golden Eagles boast seven players averaging at least five points per contest.
JUCO transfer Ty Allen leads Tech on the season, averaging 14.5 points per game. Another JUCO transfer, Ladon Carter, has come on strong over the past two games, upping his scoring average to 9.5 while pulling down 4.8 rebounds and blocking nearly two shots per game in just 17.0 minutes per contest.
Redshirt sophomore Josiah Moore has proven a steady scorer, hitting over 46 percent of his 3-point attempts on his way to a 9.3 scoring average. Senior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas has been a steady floor general, averaging 8.3 points, just under four assists, and 2.0 steals per game.
Another JUCO guy, Dwan Caldwell has shown up big on the offensive glass this season, already pulling down 14 of his 25 rebounds on the offensive side of the ball. He is averaging 6.3 boards per game along with 6.5 points.
Senior Dennis Ogbe leads Tech with 8.0 rebounds per game and has chipped in 6.5 points per contest, despite being limited all season due to several illnesses. He has made just one start on the year while only being able to average 19.5 minutes per game.