Tennessee Tech (9-15) at Morehead State (12-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ellis Johnson Arena (6,500) -- Morehead, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: Tennessee Tech 6-4, Morehead State 9-4. Away Record: Tennessee Tech 3-11, Morehead State 3-10. Neutral Record: Tennessee Tech 0-0, Morehead State 0-0. Conference Record: Tennessee Tech 3-9, Morehead State 6-6. Series Record: Morehead State leads, 74-62.
GAMES NOTES: After collecting a much needed win on Thursday the Morehead State Eagles will try to build a winning streak when they take on the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in Ohio Valley Conference action at Ellis Johnson Arena.
Tennessee Tech was not so fortunate in its bout with Eastern Kentucky on Thursday as it was handed an 80-69 defeat. The setback was the third in the last four games for the Golden Eagles who have had more struggles than successes this season at 9-15 overall and 3-9 in league play.
An 85-81 win over a tough Jacksonville State team ended a three-game losing streak for Morehead State. The Eagles are still hanging beneath .500 in terms of overall play (12-14) but have moved back to even against the OVC with six wins to match six losses.
A year ago these teams split the season series with the home team coming out on top in each instance. Before that, Morehead State had won nine straight games as it leads the all-time series by a 74-62 margin.
The second half was where things went wrong for Tennessee Tech against Eastern Kentucky. After going into halftime leading 33-30, the Golden Eagles allowed the Colonels to shoot 57.1 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes. Turnovers also hurt Tennessee Tech's cause as it was on the short end of a 22-4 deficit in points off takeaways.
Jud Dillard (19.2 pg, 7.9 rpg) was once again at the top of the score sheet for the Golden Eagles with 17 points in the contest. The 6-foot-5 swingman is the second leading scorer in the OVC and has been in double figures in every league bout this season and 15 straight games overall. Dennis Ogbe (9.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and SMU-transfer Jeremiah Samarrippas (9.5 ppg, 4.1 apg) have shown flashes of offensive ability. In all the Golden Eagles are a rather weak team on the offensive end of the floor where they score the 10th fewest points per game in the conference (64.1), while ranking 11th in field-goal percentage (.418) and last in assists (12 apg).
After Morehead State led for the majority of the game against Jacksonville State there were three ties and six lead changes in the final seven minutes. The Eagles were able to hold off the Gamecocks though thanks to a 5-0 spurt in the final two minutes and a 4-of-4 effort from the free-throw line in the final seconds.
Morehead State doesn't have a scorer like Dillard but has still managed to be a more effective offensive squad. The Eagles are fifth in the league in points (70.7 ppg), primarily thanks to a team-wide effort to share the ball as they rank third in the conference in assists (14.7 pg). Morehead State has hurt itself by allowing teams to score 70.4 points per game, on 45.4 percent shooting. Devon Atkinson (7.4 ppg, 5.2 apg) isn't a big-time scorer but orchestrates the Eagles' offensive efforts as the second-leading player in the conference in assists. Milton Chavis (10.3 ppg) and Angelo Warner (10.1 ppg) are the only double-figure scorers on the roster, which features seven players scoring at least seven points per game.
The blueprint to beat Tennessee Tech is rather simple. If you can stop Dillard you can likely get a win. Though the Eagles may struggle in that regard their offensive balance will outweigh Dillard's efforts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Morehead State 72, Tennessee Tech 67
02/16 10:32:06 ET