Tennessee Tech (9-14) at Eastern Kentucky (19-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 14, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: TTU 6-4, EKU 12-1. Away Record: TTU 3-10, EKU 7-5. Neutral Record: TTU 0-0, EKU 0-0. Conference Record: TTU 3-8, EKU 8-3. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 68-56.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels hope to keep their chances of winning the Ohio Valley Conference alive as they host the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles at McBrayer Arena on Thursday.
This will be the 125th meeting in history and first of the 2012-13 season between these schools on the hardwood. EKU holds a 68-56 lead despite dropping a 74-67 decision to TSU in Cookeville on Feb. 15, 2012, in the most recent matchup.
EKU comes in on a three-game winning streak after it completed a 68-47 rout of Morehead State on Saturday. The Colonels' recent hot streak has left them with a 19-6 overall record that includes their 8-3 mark in the OVC standings. They trail Belmont by 2.5 games for first place in the East Division standings with four league games left after Thursday. Mike DiNunno has been excellent in his first season as a Colonel since transferring from Northern Illinois. The 5- foot-11 senior guard is pacing the squad with 15.5 points and 4.3 assists per tilt.
In their victory over the Eagles, Glenn Cosey tallied 17 points to push the Colonels to the decision, while Eric Stutz played well on the interior on his way to 12 points and fives rebounds. Corey Walden also got into the mix with 11 points while DiNunno dealt out five assists to make up for a 1-of-8 showing from the floor. EKU was tremendous defensively in the opening stanza, limiting MSU to 21.7 percent shooting from the floor en route to a 10-point halftime lead. The Colonels then connected on 60.9 percent of their field goal tries after the break to extend their advantage. Their continuously exceptional play on both ends of the court this season has given the team the second best scoring offense (73.1) and defense (63.8) in the OVC.
The visiting Golden Eagles have not found the 2012-13 campaign to be nearly as fruitful, as they enter with at 9-14 overall and 3-8 in league action. TTU is coming off of a 78-64 win over Jacksonville State that ended a two-game losing slide, but it took place at home. It will now venture on the road where it owns a dismal 3-10 record for this one. Jud Dillard has been the heart and soul of the unit with averages of 19.3 points and 7.9 boards per contest, but none of his teammates are nearly as productive. Dennis Ogbe is second in both categories with 9.5 points and 5.6 boards per tilt.
Dillard registered his ninth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 boards against JSU, while Ogbe chipped in 18 points and six boards. TTU held a 36-19 edge in the rebounding battle while junior point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas tallied 15 points and four steals. Although TTU allowed the Gamecocks to hit on 51 percent of their field goal tries, it also forced JSU into 14 turnovers which it converted into 23 points. The Golden Eagles are being outscored by an average of 3.1 ppg by their opposition partially due to their poor field-goal percentage (0.417) and league-worst accuracy rating (.317) from beyond the arc.
With only one loss at home on the resume through 13 contests, EKU has proven it is not an easy team to tangle with at McBrayer Arena. Dillard will need to continue to receive help from Ogbe, Samarrippas, and company if the Golden Eagles are going to pull off the upset away from home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 70, Tennessee Tech 64
02/14 10:41:19 ET