Belmont (10-4) at Tennessee Tech (6-8)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 8:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Eblen Center (9,282) -- Cookeville, Tennessee.
Television: None. Home Record: Belmont 4-0, TTU 4-2. Away Record: Belmont 4-3,
TTU 2-6. Neutral Record: Belmont 2-1, TTU 0-0. Conference Record: Belmont 1-0,
TTU 0-2. Series Record: Belmont leads, 11-0.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will attempt to halt a season-
long losing streak on Saturday night when they play host to the Belmont Bruins
in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup at the Eblen Center.
Belmont visited Jacksonville State on Thursday night and secured a 73-62 win
for its first-ever victory in the OVC. The triumph only added to a great start
for the Bruins, who as recently as last season, were members of the Atlantic
Sun Conference. The team has won 10 of its first 14 games this season,
although three of their four losses have come on the road.
Tennessee Tech's season has been defined by its streakiness. After winning its
first three games, the team promptly fell into a three-game losing streak,
only to win three of its next four. The Golden Eagles are once again on the
downward slope, having dropped four straight, most recently falling in a home
conference bout to visiting Tennessee State on Thursday, 72-66.
These newly-formed conference rivals have faced each other 11 times
previously, with Belmont winning each time. This is however, their first
meeting since the 1998-99 season.
The Bruins were able to topple a 10-win Jacksonville State squad by putting
forth an impressive shooting performance. In addition to making 52 percent of
their field goal attempts, they also had a perfect night from the foul line
(17of-17). All five starters reached double figures in the victory, paced by
J.J. Mann, who recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Blake
Jenkins was also strong in the frontcourt with 14 points, nine boards and two
blocks, while Ian Clark logged 12 points and four steals. The balanced effort
was capped off by a pair of 11-point performances from Kerron Johnson and
Trevor Noack. Belmont has been solid from the field all season, draining 46.7
percent of its total shots for an average of 73.4 ppg (second-best in the
OVC). Clark leads the way with 17.0 ppg thanks to an outstanding 44-of-98
showing from 3-point range (.449). Johnson adds 13.6 ppg, while Noack (12.4
ppg) and Jenkins (10.1 ppg, 1.7 bpg) are both strong in the frontcourt with
5.8 rpg apiece.
Despite holding a halftime lead in its latest game, Tennessee Tech was out-
performed by Tennessee State in the second half as it was saddled with the
six-point home loss. The Eagles certainly did not help themselves with their
performance from the floor, as they made good on just 21-of-58 shots (.362),
and their only saving grace came in the form of nine 3-pointers. Jeremiah
Samarrippas went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc for a team-high 22 points, while
Lanerryl Johnson logged 22 minutes off the bench and took full advantage with
21 points. Jud Dillard added 13 points, and Dennis Ogbe was strong on the
glass with 13 rebounds. While TTU has a respectable .438 field goal
percentage, it averages just 65.7 ppg, which ranks in the bottom-third of the
league. Doing most of the heavy lifting is Dillard, who ranks second in the
OVC in scoring with 18.0 ppg, while draining greater than 47 percent of his
field goal attempts and grabbing a team-high 7.2 rpg. Samarrippas runs the
point and tallies 10.7 ppg and 3.9 rpg, although he also commits 3.4 of the
team's 15.4 turnovers per contest.
The Golden Eagles clearly played better in their return home on Thursday, but
they still haven't shown the ability to keep up with the top teams in the
conference. Belmont has been rolling along of late, and it should be able to
overcome the hostile environment to win its second straight road game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 71, Tennessee Tech 64
01/05 10:32:31 ET