Tennessee Tech (15-14) at Eastern Kentucky (19-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 27, 7:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: TTU 10-4, EKU 10-2. Away Record: TTU 5-8, EKU 8-6. Neutral Record: TTU 0-2, EKU 1-1. Conference Record: TTU 8-6, EKU 9-5. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 70-57.
GAME NOTES: Two squads jockeying for position in the Ohio Valley Conference meet in Richmond tonight, as the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
Tennessee Tech has won two straight after winning at Jacksonville State last Saturday, 69-57. That was the fifth win in last six games for the Golden Eagles. Tech sits in third place in the East Division of the OVC.
Eastern Kentucky topped Austin Peay last Saturday, 96-75, winning for the fifth time in the last seven outings. EKU is in fourth place in the East, just a game back of Tech.
The Colonels own a 70-57 advantage in the all-time series. EKU won both contests last season. Tech rebounded this year, topping the Colonels in Cookeville in the most recent matchup two weeks ago, 72-66.
Dennis Ogbe posted a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagles over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks. Jeremiah Samarrippas and Dwan Caldwell also finished with 13 points, while Shirmane Thomas chipped in with 10 points in the win. Tech shot an impressive 51.6 percent from the field in the first half. Trailing by five early in the frame, the Golden Eagles went on a 14-2 run to take control of the game and went into halftime with a 37-22 advantage. The Golden Eagles saw their lead balloon to as many as 21 in the second half as they cruised to victory.
Tennessee Tech ranks ninth in the OVC in scoring (71.8 ppg) and eighth in field goal percentage (.447). Ogbe (10.6 ppg, 6 rpg) and Caldwell (10.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) are the top scorers on a unit that favors balance over individual performance. Including Ogbe and Caldwell, there are six players putting in over 7 ppg. Samarrippas (9.9 ppg, 4.3 apg) could be scoring at a better rate, but he is only connecting on 38 percent of his field goal attempts. He does make up for the poor shooting to an extent, ranking in the top-10 in the OVC in assists (4.3 apg).
Glenn Cosey scored a game-high 27 points, hitting 8-of-12 from 3-point range, and dished out nine assists as the Colonels easily handled the Austin Peay Governors. Tarius Johnson netted 24 points on 7-of-9 shooting, Corey Walden contributed 16 points and eight assists, and Eric Stutz chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds for the Colonels. Austin Peay had the hot hand in the first half, netting 53.8 percent of its field goal tries. But EKU was the team that had the edge at intermission, 40-34, after hitting 46.4 percent of its total shots, including 8-of-17 from 3-point distance, in the frame. The Colonels simply dominated the second half, connecting on 69 percent of their shots from the field, including 9-of-15 from long distance.
Cosey tops the Colonels in scoring this season with an impressive 19 ppg on 42.3 percent shooting from the floor. Cosey's 124 assists on the year give him the team's top spot in that category, and his 35 steals are good for third on the squad. Walden checks in at second in scoring with 13.4 ppg with a team- best 59 steals, and Marcus Lewis averages 10.6 ppg on the season. Stutz leads the Colonels with 4.6 rpg and 18 blocks. The Colonels play well at both ends of the court, scoring a healthy 79.1 ppg while giving up just 70.2 ppg, good enough for third and second in the OVC, respectively.
Eastern Kentucky can score and play defense, which gives it a slight advantage over Tennessee Tech. Expect the Colonels to defend their home floor and leave the teams tied for third place in the East going into the stretch run.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 75, Tennessee Tech 70
02/27 10:49:55 ET