Tennessee Tech (7-9) at SIU Edwardsville (4-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 12, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: TTU 4-3, SIUE 4-2. Away Record: TTU 3-6, SIUE 0-7. Neutral Record: TTU 0-0, SIUE 0-0. Conference Record: TTU 1-3, SIUE 0-3. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: The SIU Edwardsville Cougars aim for their first league win of the season as they welcome the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles to the Vadalabene Center for Ohio Valley Conference action.
SIUE will also be looking to end a four-game slide that was extended when it fell, 75-62, to Jacksonville State on Thursday. The setback to the Gamecocks dropped the Cougars to a 4-9 overall mark including three losses in OVC affairs. SIUE has struggled this season, just its second as a Division I program, due to its lack of efficiency producing points. It is second to last in the conference with just 62.5 points per game on 42.5 percent field goal shooting.
Tennessee Tech faced a 15-point deficit its last time out, but it rallied back to defeat Eastern Illinois, 77-73, on the road to notch its first OVC victory of a year. The Golden Eagles are now 7-9 overall with three of the setbacks coming from league rivals. TTU is below the league median in both scoring (65.6 ppg) and scoring defense (68.0) through 16 contests.
The Golden Eagles own a 3-1 all-time series edge versus SIUE. The Cougars' only win came in the first meeting of the 2011-12 season, which TTU avenged with an 18-point rout later on in the year.
Trailing by six points with four minutes left to play in their last appearance, the Golden Eagles used an 11-3 run to take a two-point lead with just under a minute remaining. The Panthers tied the game at 73, 18 seconds later, but the Golden Eagles scored the final four points of the contest to complete their comeback. Jud Dillard lit it up with a career-best 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting, while Dennis Ogbe added 11 points and Jeremiah Samarrippas dished out eight assists. Dillard is pacing the Golden Eagle attack with 19.2 points per game. He also leads TTU with 7.4 rebounds per contest. Samarrippas nets 10.4 points each time out while averaging over four assists a game.
During its first tour of the top tier of college basketball, SIUE produced 65.7 points per game, while it allowed opponents to net 71.3. The Cougars have digressed on the offensive end, but there is noticeable improvement in their defensive approach as their foes are posting 66.9 ppg in year two. However, recently SIUE had its scoring defense driven up in it losses to Eastern Kentucky and JSU. The Gamecocks managed to knock down 52.9 percent of their field goal attempts including 6-of-12 to bury the Cougars. Jerome Jones led the team in the losing effort with 15 points, while Michael Messer scored 14 points to go along with nine boards. Kris Davis filled the stat sheet with eight points, six assists and five rebounds. Jones is generating 15.3 points per game, Kris Davis adding 10.5 ppg, and Messer chips in 9.8 per outing.
The Cougars were playing much tougher earlier in the season, but their recent lack of defensive success makes them weak on both ends. The Golden Eagles need to win this one to begin their climb out of the East Division cellar.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Tech 76, SIU Edwardsville 65
01/12 10:51:10 ET