Tennessee Tech (8-8) at Belmont (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Curb Event Center (5,085) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: TTU 5-1, Belmont 4-1. Away Record: TTU 3-5, Belmont 3-5. Neutral Record: TTU 0-2, Belmont 2-0. Conference Record: TTU 1-0, Belmont 1-0. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 9-2.
GAME NOTES: Ohio Valley Conference play resumes tonight for the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles and the Belmont Bruins, as the two will square off at the Curb Event Center.
Tennessee Tech has played .500 ball to this point, but the Golden Eagles are hoping to gain some momentum after opening their OVC schedule on Thursday night with a 57-53 win at Tennessee State. It marked their third road win in eight tries this season.
Meanwhile, Belmont snapped a four-game slide with a 78-67 triumph over Jacksonville State on Thursday. That contest was the Bruins' first home game in more than a month, and following this tilt they'll hit the road for four straight.
Tennessee Tech holds a 9-2 series lead, although both of the Bruins' wins in the all-time series came last year as they swept the season series.
TTU dialed up the defensive pressure on Thursday and held Tennessee State to 36.7-percent shooting from the floor, including a 3-of-18 effort from 3-point range (.167). The Golden Eagles held Tigers guard Patrick Miller, the OVC's leading scorer, to 13 points, well off his average of 21 ppg. For TTU, Josiah Moore led the way with 13 points off the bench, while Dwan Caldwell joined him in double figures with 10 points. The Golden Eagles were not particularly efficient in their half-court offense, but they did manage to make 8-of-22 threes (.364). The lack of a true go-to scorer has been apparent throughout the season's early going, as Ty Allen's average of 10.7 ppg represents a team- high.
Belmont is a more offensive-minded squad that is averaging 80 points through 15 games. J.J. Mann leads the way with 16.2 ppg, followed by Craig Bradshaw with 14.0 ppg and Drew Windler with 12.5 ppg. That trio has accounted for 70 percent of Belmont's made 3-pointers on the season. Bradshaw and Windler have been particularly efficient, combining to shoot 51 percent (63-of-124) from long range. The Bruins set the tone on Thursday by making their first four shots against Jacksonville State, and that included consecutive 3-pointers from Windler, Mann and Bradshaw. Bradshaw finished with a game-high 18 points to pace five double-digit scorers for Belmont.
If the Bruins can get off to another strong start on their home floor, it will spell trouble for a Tennessee Tech team that is more aptly suited for low- scoring, defensive-minded battles.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 77, Tennessee Tech 64
01/04 10:41:53 ET