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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Eblen Center (9,280) -- Cookeville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: SIUE 4-3, TTU 6-1. Away Record: SIUE 0-7, TTU 3-6. Neutral Record: SIUE 0-2, TTU 0-2. Conference Record: SIUE 1-2, TTU 2-1. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will continue a three-game homestand on Saturday night, as they host the SIU Edwardsville Cougars in an Ohio Valley Conference clash at the Eblen Center.
The Cougars have been uneven of late, alternating wins and losses in their last four games. Inconsistency is preferable to their overall effort, which has left them at just 4-12 on the season, including an 0-7 mark on the road. SIU Edwardsville will contend with Austin Peay at home next.
Tennessee Tech has also split its last four games, failing to get a streak going either way. Most recently, the Golden Eagles topped Eastern Illinois (81-69) to pull themselves to the .500 mark on the season (9-9) and to 6-1 on their home floor. The team's homestand ends next Saturday against Southeast Missouri State.
There have been only five previous matchups between these two programs. SIUE won the most recent rendition, taking a 58-54 decision a year ago. Tennessee Tech holds a slight edge overall (3-2).
Donivine Stewart scored a game-high 17 points for SIU Edwardsville on Thursday, but the Cougars still lost to Jacksonville State, 61-52. Aside from Stewart, who hit 6-of-8 shots from the floor, they struggled to get in a rhythm offensively, making good on just 36.5 percent from the field as a team.
The Cougars can rarely afford to have an off night from the floor. They are allowing an incredible 78.6 ppg on 51.1 percent shooting to their foes. Stewart (11.7 ppg, 3.8 apg) is very often the only scorer that can be relied upon, as no other player on the roster is averaging in double figures. However, the Cougars do spread out the rest of their 71.4 ppg somewhat well, with seven others netting at least six ppg. Maurice Wiltz (8.8 ppg) and Keaton Jackson (8.1 ppg) are the next-best options behind Stewart.
Jeremiah Samarrippas came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points in leading Tennessee Tech past Eastern Illinois. The Golden Eagles hit a solid 46.9 percent from the floor, but it was their exploits from beyond the arc (10-of-21) that really won the day.
Tennessee Tech has presented more of a challenge to foes when on defense, limiting the opposition to 69.6 ppg and 44.8 percent shooting. Such defensive efforts have yielded a slight scoring margin in the Golden Eagles' favor (+3.7). Balance is also a key component of their offensive game plan, with Ty Allen (10.1 ppg) and Dennis Ogbe (10 ppg, 6.4 rpg) leading the team in scoring. Dwan Caldwell (9.6 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and Samarrippas (8.9 ppg, 3.7 apg) are in the mix as well, with the latter still needing to improve his consistency, as he drops just 38.2 percent of his total shots.
This game should not present much of a challenge for Tennessee Tech, which should be able to dictate the pace and find plenty of scoring opportunities against the weak defensive approach of the Cougars.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Tech 74, SIU Edwardsville 65
01/11 12:51:22 ET
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