By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech men's basketball fans will get their first opportunity to catch new head coach John Pelphrey and his Golden Eagle squad in action Tuesday evening. Tech will play host to Bryan College in an 8:00 p.m. CT exhibition contest in the Eblen Center as part of Purple Palooza.
Trick-or-treating will be available around the concourse of the arena beginning at 5 p.m. The Golden Eagle women's team will then host the University of the Cumberlands at 6 p.m., also an exhibition affair. Both exhibitions, as well as the trick-or-treating, will be free and open to the public.
Coach Pelphrey embarks on his first season at the helm of the Golden Eagle program, being named the 13th head coach in school history back in April. The nine-year head coaching veteran, who served at both South Alabama and Arkansas in the same role, was most recently the associate head coach for Avery Johnson at Alabama the previous three seasons.
Pelphrey and his staff welcomed in seven newcomers to the roster for 2019-20, adding to a young core that included a pair of returning sophomore starters in Jr. Clay and Hunter Vick. Clay led the purple and gold in scoring, assists and steals last season, averaging 14.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game. His 51 steals broke the program's freshman mark and helped lead him to All-Ohio Valley Conference Second Team and OVC All-Newcomer honors.
Vick shattered the school's freshman 3-point mark, sinking 54 triples to the tune of 39.7 percent while averaging 11.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 33.0 minutes per game. He was one of two Golden Eagles to start each of the team's 31 games last season, joining Clay to become the first pair of Tech freshmen to average double figures since 1978-79.
Also garnering time on the court as freshmen in 2018-19 were Jared Sherfield and Garrett Golday, both of whom participated in all 31 contests. Sherfield broke through over the team's final four contests, averaging 16.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in that stretch with a trio of starts. Golday made four starts during the year while averaging over 15 minutes of action and more than four points per game.
Tech's newcomers include junior college transfers Larry Kuimi (Lee College), Amadou Sylla (Iowa Western Community College) and Michael Lolio (Lee College), Baylor transfer Darius Allen and freshmen Keishawn Davidson, Dane Quest and Tujautae Williams. The Golden Eagles also feature a trio of redshirt freshmen in the forms of Caden Mills, Reece Wilkerson and Chase Ridenour. Veterans returning for the purple and gold are junior Maverick Smith, senior Tyler Thompson and senior Cade Crosland.
Bryan College comes into the exhibition affair with a 1-1 record on the season, earning its first victory Thursday evening over Oakwood University. The Lions won the contest 92-69 with a pair of 20-point performances from Isaiah McClain (21) and Noah Mulaski (20). The Lions fell in their season opener at the University of the Cumberlands, 77-70.
Season tickets for Tennessee Tech basketball are on sale now. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office, or log on to TTUSports.com to order yours today.
Photo by Thomas Corhern