UMKC (7-21) at Tennessee Tech (10-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 23, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Eblen Center (9,282) -- Cookeville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: UMKC 2-11, Tennessee Tech 7-4. Away Record: UMKC 3-8, Tennessee Tech 3-12. Neutral Record: UMKC 2-1, Tennessee Tech 0-0. Conference Record: UMKC 4-10, Tennessee Tech 4-10. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 3-1.
GAMES NOTES: As part of BracketBusters weekend the UMKC Kangaroos will travel to the Eblen Center for a non-conference bout with the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles on Saturday night.
The Kangaroos wrapped up their final homestand of the season last Saturday with an 86-74 setback against Oakland. The loss was the seventh in the last eight games for the Kangaroos who are a dismal 7-21 overall this season including a 4-10 mark against fellow Summit League members. UMKC will get back to conference play with road tests against Western Illinois and IUPUI next week.
Tennessee Tech opened a four-game homestand, that continues Saturday, with an 83-68 rout of intrastate rival Tennessee-Martin on Thursday. The Golden Eagles have been marginally better overall as compared to the Kangaroos (10-16) but they own an identical 4-10 record against the Ohio Valley Conference. Tests against Murray State and Morehead State will finish out the regular season for Tennessee Tech.
These teams played in four straight seasons from 1988-1992. In that time the Eagles earned victories in three of four total meetings.
A sluggish start had UMKC trying to dig itself out of an 18-point halftime deficit against Oakland. The Kangaroos did shoot 62.1 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes but were also outscored 19-5 from the free-throw line in defeat.
UMKC is not one of the flagship teams of the Summit League for a reason. The Kangaroos are near the bottom of the league in most offensive categories, including scoring (61.9 pg), assists (9.9 pg) and field-goal percentage (.426). On the other end the Kangaroos are letting up 72.1 points per game on a less than ideal 48 percent from the field. Estan Tyler (11.3 ppg) is the only consistent double-figure scorer on the roster, although Thomas Staton (9.9 ppg) has shown flashes of ability. Staton had been struggling with just 12 combined points in five games before putting in 17 against Oakland. Tyler meanwhile, has been in double figures in four of the last five outings.
Dennis Ogbe put up 23 points and Jud Dillard added 21 for Tennessee Tech in its win over Tennessee-Martin. It was a team effort from the starting lineup for the Golden Eagles, who got just nine points from the bench, while shooting 52.9 percent as a team.
The 23 points for Ogbe was an eruption by his standards as the 6-foot-7 forward is scoring only 10.3 points per game this season. He has turned it on of late, scoring in double figures in eight of the last nine games. Less surprising was the effort from Dillard (19.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg) who is the second best scorer in the OVC as well as one of the league's best rebounders. The Golden Eagles aren't fortunate enough to have many other consistent scorers though. Jeremiah Samarrippas (9.8 ppg) and Lanerryl Johnson (7.3 ppg) each shoot worse than 40 percent from the field as the only other players above six points per game.
Neither of these teams can claim much success on the offensive end of the floor. With Dillard though, the Golden Eagles have far and away the most dangerous offensive threat in the contest and that should be enough.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Tech 67, UMKC 61
02/23 10:47:03 ET