Tennessee-Martin (7-18) at Tennessee Tech (9-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 21, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Eblen Center (9,282) -- Cookeville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: UTM 6-7, Tennessee Tech 6-4. Away Record: UTM 1-11, Tennessee Tech 3-12. Neutral Record: UTM 0-0, Tennessee Tech 0-0. Conference Record: UTM 4-9, Tennessee Tech 3-10. Series Record: Tennessee Tech leads, 33-11.
GAMES NOTES: Potent scorer Jud Dillard and the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles will be locked in an Ohio Valley Conference clash at the Eblen Center on Thursday night with the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks.
Tennessee-Martin is coming off a four-game homestand in which it split the four contests. Most recently the Skyhawks were defeated, 96-74, by Southeast Missouri State. The setback dropped the Skyhawks to 7-18 overall and to a 4-9 mark in league action. Tennessee-Martin is ahead of just Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay in the league standings.
Losses in four of its last five games has Tennessee Tech bottoming out as it is last in the OVC's East Division at a mere 3-10. Overall the Golden Eagles haven't been much better, with the season ledger sitting at 9-16.
This is the first meeting between these squads since an 85-62 rout by the Golden Eagles in December of 2011. The Golden Eagles have won six straight against the Skyhawks and lead the all-time series by a dominating 33-11 margin.
Struggles on the defensive end once again doomed Tennessee-Martin against SEMO. The Skyhawks allowed the Redhawks to knock down 56.4 percent of their shots from the floor including 12-of-22 from beyond the arc en route to the 22-point loss.
On the campaign the Skyhawks are suffering from a nearly 10-point scoring deficit due to their inability to consistently get stops. The Skyhawks are letting up 76 points per game while teams shoot 45.6 percent from the field. Compounding the issue is the less than efficient rate at which the Skyhawks play on the offensive end where they score just 66.3 points per game, while shooting the worst percentage from the field (.396) in the conference. Myles Taylor (16.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg) kept his rebounding up but had just 11 points against SEMO after dropping i 23 points in the previous contest. Mike Liabo (12.9 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures, though Terence Smith (9.2 ppg) had a game-high 26 points against the Redhawks.
It was a heartbreaking loss for Tennessee Tech last time out against Morehead State as the Golden Eagles were dropped, 65-63, on a last-second layup.
The Golden Eagles have kept teams closer this season with their scoring margin at just -3.4. However Tennessee Tech is still one of the worst offensive teams in the conference, ranking among the bottom three squads in points (64 pg), assists (11.8 pg) and field-goal percentage (.420). The team does limit opponents to 67.4 points per game on 44.1 percent shooting on the defensive end. Dillard (19.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg) is the second-leading scorer in the OVC and among its top five rebounders. The 6-foot-5 forward has scored in double figures in every league game this season and 16 straight contests overall. However, Dillard hasn't gotten much support with Dennis Ogbe (9.8 ppg) and Jeremiah Samarrippas (9.6 ppg) the only other players hovering around double- digit scoring averages.
Dillard should have his way against the defensively weak Skyhawks. If the rest of the supporting cast can step up their offensive game then the Golden Eagles could grab a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Tech 67, Tennessee-Martin 62
02/21 10:32:48 ET