GAMES NOTES: Potent scorer Jud Dillard and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles
will be locked in an Ohio Valley Conference clash at the Eblen Center on
Thursday night with the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks.
Tennessee-Martin is coming off a four-game homestand in which it split the
four contests. Most recently the Skyhawks were defeated, 96-74, by Southeast
Missouri State. The setback dropped the Skyhawks to 7-18 overall and to a 4-9
mark in league action. Tennessee-Martin is ahead of just Tennessee Tech and
Austin Peay in the league standings.
Losses in four of its last five games has Tennessee Tech bottoming out as it
is last in the OVC's East Division at a mere 3-10. Overall the Golden Eagles
haven't been much better, with the season ledger sitting at 9-16.
This is the first meeting between these squads since an 85-62 rout by the
Golden Eagles in December of 2011. The Golden Eagles have won six straight
against the Skyhawks and lead the all-time series by a dominating 33-11
Struggles on the defensive end once again doomed Tennessee-Martin against
SEMO. The Skyhawks allowed the Redhawks to knock down 56.4 percent of their
shots from the floor including 12-of-22 from beyond the arc en route to the
On the campaign the Skyhawks are suffering from a nearly 10-point scoring
deficit due to their inability to consistently get stops. The Skyhawks are
letting up 76 points per game while teams shoot 45.6 percent from the field.
Compounding the issue is the less than efficient rate at which the Skyhawks
play on the offensive end where they score just 66.3 points per game, while
shooting the worst percentage from the field (.396) in the conference. Myles
Taylor (16.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg) kept his rebounding up but had just 11 points
against SEMO after dropping i 23 points in the previous contest. Mike Liabo
(12.9 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures, though
Terence Smith (9.2 ppg) had a game-high 26 points against the Redhawks.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Tennessee Tech last time out against Morehead
State as the Golden Eagles were dropped, 65-63, on a last-second layup.
The Golden Eagles have kept teams closer this season with their scoring margin
at just -3.4. However Tennessee Tech is still one of the worst offensive teams
in the conference, ranking among the bottom three squads in points (64 pg),
assists (11.8 pg) and field-goal percentage (.420). The team does limit
opponents to 67.4 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting on the defensive
end. Dillard (19.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is the second-leading scorer in the OVC and
among its top five rebounders. The 6-foot-5 forward has scored in double
figures in every league game this season and 16 straight contests overall.
However, Dillard hasn't gotten much support with Dennis Ogbe (9.8 ppg) and
Jeremiah Samarrippas (9.6 ppg) the only other players hovering around double-
digit scoring averages.
Dillard should have his way against the defensively weak Skyhawks. If the rest
of the supporting cast can step up their offensive game then the Golden Eagles
could grab a victory.