By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team stays in the comfort of the Hooper Eblen Center Monday evening, playing host to Reinhardt University in a 6:00 p.m. CT tilt.
Tennessee Tech (2-6) vs. Reinhardt (3-8)
Monday, Dec. 2, 2019
6:00 p.m. CT
Eblen Center (7,500) – Cookeville, Tenn.
Monday marks the fourth meeting all-time between the two programs, with Tech owning a 3-0 lead.
Reinhardt enters the contest 3-8 on the year, with one victory coming by forfeit. The Eagles were scheduled to take on Cincinnati Christian, but the university announced the cancellation of its athletic seasons after losing its accreditation on Oct. 28, 2019.
The Eagles are paced by do-it-all guard Josh Daniels, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and assists. He averages 12.7 points, 4.7 boards and 2.8 dimes per contest.
Joining Daniels in double figures are forward Dwayne Wilson and guard Blake MacIntyre. Wilson adds 11.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game while MacIntyre posts 11.1 points on 42.4 percent shooting from 3-point range.
Reinhardt is led by first-year head coach Justin Newton, who was named the Eagle's leader in April.
Newton, the reigning Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association (GCAA) Men's Division I Basketball Coach of the Year, led Andrew (Ga.) College to a 24-8 record and GCAA regular season title in 2018-19.
In just one season with the Tigers, he led the team to a program-record in wins.
The Golden Eagles fell to in-state rival Lipscomb in the Eblen Center last Monday, a 78-65 decision in favor of the visitors.
Tech held a 36-35 advantage headed into the locker room at the break, but a frigid start from the field to start the second half doomed the team's chances in pulling out the victory.
The home squad opened the second stanza just 3-for-18, also turning over the ball five times in the first 10 minutes.
The Golden Eagles showed more improvement on the boards, edging the Bisons on the glass 43-36.
Junior forward Larry Kuimi, who earned his second straight start, led the effort on the boards, snaring a game-high and season-best 10 on the night. He also added a season-high seven points while finishing +4 when on the floor.
Jr. Clay paced the Golden Eagle offensive attack, channeling in for a season-high 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting. The sophomore guard hit four of his eight tries from downtown and made just one turnover in the contest. Sherfield joined Clay in double figures, totaling a season-best 11 points.
With an 83-70 win over Martin Methodist on November 9, Tech head coach John Pelphrey earned his first victory as the leader of the Golden Eagle program.
Pelphrey, who was named the 13th head coach in Golden Eagle history in April, also earned career win No. 150 on the night, the same day the Tech football team earned its 150th victory in Tucker Stadium on the day they celebrated the 150th anniversary of college football.
Both Davidson and Sylla were honored by the OVC on Nov. 11, picking up two of the league's first three weekly honors of the 2019-20 campaign. Davidson was named OVC Freshman of the Week while Sylla was recognized as the OVC Newcomer of the Week.
It marked the first time since 2015-16 that Tech claimed two of the OVC's three weekly accolades.
The last time it occurred was Feb. 1, 2016 when Torrance Rowe won OVC Player of the Week and both Ryan Martin and Hakeem Rogers shared OVC Newcomer of the Week honors.
Tech was predicted to finish 12th overall in the 2019 OVC race in voting by the league's head coaches and SIDs.
The 2019-20 Tech roster features 17 players (13 scholarship student-athletes) representing five states and three countries.
Nine Golden Eagle players hail from the state Tennessee, while Florida and Texas each boast two Tech players. Alabama and Illinois are represented by one Tech player each.
Two international players round out the roster, including one Golden Eagle from Canada and another from Mali.
Tech has three seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, three redshirt freshmen and three true freshmen.
Eleven Golden Eagles stand 6-foot-5 or taller while the other six measure in at 6-foot-4 or shorter.
While the 2019-20 Golden Eagles welcomed in seven new faces to the roster this season, that number doesn't show just how little this team spent together coming into the season. In addition to a brand new coaching staff, 10 of Tech's 17 players had never suited up for the Golden Eagles heading into the season-opener.
Tech players that have or could make their Golden Eagle debut in 2019-20 are senior transfer Darius Allen, JUCO transfers Larry Kuimi, Amadou Sylla and Michael Lolio, true freshmen Keishawn Davidson, Dane Quest and Tujautae Williams, and redshirt freshmen Chase Ridenour, Caden Mills and Reece Wilkinson.
The 2019-20 Tech roster came into the year with just 58 combined starts at the Division I level, inlcuding 31 by Hunter Vick, 19 by Jr. Clay, four by Garrett Golday, three by Jared Sherfield and one by Darius Allen (at Baylor).
Season tickets for Tennessee Tech basketball are on sale now. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office, or log on to TTUSports.com to order yours today.
Photo by Thomas Corhern