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Tech looks to continue hot streak with tilt against in-state foe Tennessee State

Tech looks to continue hot streak with tilt against in-state foe Tennessee State

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team will look for its fourth consecutive victory Saturday afternoon, playing host to in-state and Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee State in a 3:00 p.m. CT tilt in the Hooper Eblen Center.

Fans will have plenty of options to follow the action, with Roger Ealey and Frank Harrell providing radio coverage on 106.1 The Eagle and Dylan Vazzano and Michael Cooper sharing the call on ESPN+. The game will also be televised locally on WCTE and can be heard on the WTTU student radio station 88.5 FM.

Tennessee State comes into the contest after falling at home to UT Martin, 77-66, on Thursday. Last Saturday, the Tigers battled back from an early deficit to hand Lindenwood a 60-57 loss on its home court.

Former Golden Eagle and four-time All-OVC honoree Jr. Clay will make his return to the Eblen Center for the first time as a visitor after transferring to TSU as a graduate student during the offseason. Clay enters Saturday's affair leading the league in both scoring and assists, averaging 17.9 points and 4.6 assists per game. 

In the all-time series between the two OVC rivals, Tennessee State leads with a slight, 38-36 advantage. The Golden Eagles hold a 19-17 lead in the series when competing in Cookeville. The Tigers took over the series lead last season and have won each of the past three contests between the two programs.

Last season, Tennessee State claimed a pair of wins against the Golden Eagles, winning 80-64 in Nashville in mid-January before heading to Cookeville and playing nearly a perfect game. The Tigers rolled to a 92-56 decision in the Eblen Center in late February.

The Golden Eagles enter Saturday's action after turning in an impressive display on both sides of the ball in a big, 79-62 victory over Morehead State Thursday evening. After trailing 21-8 with just under 12 minutes to play in the first half, the purple and gold fought back and took a one-point lead into the halftime break.

Tech dominated the second half, shooting 56.5 percent from the floor, 50 percent from distance, and sinking 12-of-14 tries from the charity stripe while holding the visiting Eagles to just 37 percent efficiency and 27 points. The Golden Eagles ended the evening on a 22-8 run, picking up their third straight win for the first time since the 2017-18 campaign.

Playing against his former team, graduate transfer Jaylen Sebree led the purple and gold with 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Fellow graduate transfer Ty Perry dropped 14 points with a 4-for-6 showing from deep. Both he and Sebree turned in three assists each, with Sebree also accounting for four rebounds.

Junior forward Jayvis Harvey racked up a team-high six rebounds with nine points, four dimes, and two steals. Junior guard Erik Oliver made the most of his 20 minutes of action off the bench, contributing 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting with four assists and no turnovers.

Following Saturday's match-up, Tech will trek back out west for its first-ever contest with new OVC foe Little Rock in a 7:30 p.m. CT tilt on Thursday, Jan. 19. The Golden Eagles will then head to Cape Girardeau, Mo. for a Saturday showdown at Southeast Missouri at 4:00 p.m. on Jan. 21.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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