Gardner-Webb (9-18) at Tennessee Tech (15-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 19th, 8:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Eblen Center (9,850) -- Cookeville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Gardner-Webb 4-5, Tenn Tech 8-5. Away Record: Gardner-Webb 3-13, Tenn Tech 6-6. Neutral Record: Gardner-Webb 2-0, Tenn Tech 1-0. Conference Record: Gardner-Webb 4-11, Tenn Tech 11-6. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles takes place tonight at the Eblen Center in Cookeville as part of the annual BracketBusters series.
Tennessee Tech, which represents the Ohio Valley Conference, enters the weekend on a two-game win streak thanks to a narrow 61-59 triumph over Tennessee State on Valentine's Day at home. The victory was the third in the last four outings overall for the program and moved Tech to 11-6 in conference, which has the group in fourth place in the standings heading into the weekend.
As for the Runnin' Bulldogs, they took down Coastal Carolina on Tuesday night by a score of 59-57 in Big South Conference action which means the team has won two of the last three outings overall but still has just three overall victories since the first week of December. The win was quite unexpected given that the Chanticleers were riding the nation's longest win streak at 22 games in a row.
In a game that saw 14 ties and 12 lead changes, the Bulldogs were more than in the mix against Coastal Carolina this week, the visitors actually surviving with the two-point win. Jon Moore came off the bench to record a team-best 15 points, followed by starters Stefon Johnson and Laron Buggs with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Johnson, who finished the game shooting 6-of-11 from the floor, also cleared a team-best nine rebounds in the stunning victory as well. Moore, who has come off the bench in seven of the 22 games in which he has appeared, is currently the only double-digit scorer on the roster for the Bulldogs with his 12.8 ppg, even as he shoots a disappointing 38.9 percent from the field and 31.5 percent behind the three-point line. Johnson (9.3 ppg) is making good on close to 48 percent from the floor, but it is his 54.7 percent effort at the free-throw line that is getting more attention these days.
Like the Runnin' Bulldogs, Tennessee Tech didn't leave much room for effort on Monday as it slipped by with a two-point win at home. Trading leads back and forth the entire way, the Golden Eagles were paced by Kevin Murphy who erupted for 24 points and eight rebounds in 35 minutes of action. Jud Dillard tacked on 13 points as he combined with Murphy to knock down 14-of-30 shots from the floor, the rest of the team hitting on 10-of-23 opportunities. Murphy has been a steady contributor for the Golden Eagles with his team-best 15.4 ppg, while Dillard tacks on another 10.9 ppg as the duo combine to clear nine rebounds per contest as well. Zac Swansey (9.7 ppg) has his moments when it comes to scoring, but it is more important that he get the rest of the team involved with 165 assists in 26 games.
The Runnin' Bulldogs just came up with the highlight of their season earlier this week, so to expect them to be ready for another game that will draw some attention would be asking a lot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Tech 69, Gardner-Webb 60
02/19 10:34:29 ET