Golden Eagles set sights on Saturday matchup against Morehead State

Golden Eagles set sights on Saturday matchup against Morehead State

By Jonathan Caudle, TTU Sports Information

Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles (8-4, 1-0 OVC) at Morehead State Eagles (5-8, 1-0)
Game 13 • Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 • 12 p.m. (CT)
Morehead, Ky. • Johnson Arena
Video Stream: ESPN+
Listen: 106.1 The Eagle (Roger Ealey)
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Twitter Updates: @TTUWBB
Series Record: Tech leads, 59-29 (Last: Tech L 73-70, 2/23/19)

MOREHEAD, Ky. – Golden Eagles continue their OVC opening weekend as they head to Morehead, Ky. to take on the Morehead State Eagles on Saturday at 12 p.m. CT.

About the Golden Eagles

Tech looks to extend its four-game winning streak on Saturday. The Golden Eagles haven't lost a game since Dec. 17, earning victories over Western Carolina (62-58), Lipscomb (77-57), Tennessee Wesleyan (94-45), and Eastern Kentucky (60-42).

The pair of juniors Kesha Brady and Mackenzie Coleman continue to post double-figure averages for Tech this season with 15.9 and 10.8 points per game, respectively. Akia Harris has been the Golden Eagles primary ball-handler, averaging 4.75 assists per game, while freshman Jada Guinn has collected a team-leading 14 takeaways this season. Senior Anacia Wilkinson has continued to be a dominant post presence for Tech this season, averaging 7.1 rebounds per game and blocking 2.25 shots per contest.

About the Eagles

Morehead State has struggled more through their non-conference schedule this season than they did last season. The Eagles posted a 4-8 mark in non-conference play this season, following a year in which the Eagles finished 9-4. Morehead State enters Saturday's tilt with an overall 5-8 record, after having defeated Jacksonville State on Thursday to join the Golden Eagles as 1-0 in OVC play.

Breuna Jackson leads the Eagles on the scoring end this season, averaging 10.4 points per game, shooting 38 percent from the field and 3-point range, and 94 percent from the free throw line. Defensively, Ariel Kirkwood has pulled down a team-high 9.2 rebounds per game, while also leading the team in blocked shots with 2.2 per contest. Kirkwood has also been the Eagles leading ball distributor this season, averaging 2.4 assists per game. Tomiyah Alford has been the Eagles go-to for takeaways this season, corralling a team-leading two steals per game.

Tech vs. Morehead State

The Golden Eagles hold a 59-29 lead in the all-time series, though Morehead State has won the last six meetings between the two teams. Tech holds a 32-10 all-time lead in Cookeville, a 22-18 all-time lead in Morehead, and a 5-1 all-time lead at neutral sites. Three of the last six matchups have been incredibly close contests and were decided by single-digits, including last year's home matchup, which ended in a 73-70 defeat.

Last Time Out

Tech opened their OVC slate on Thursday with an impressive 18-point victory over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels, 60-42.

The Golden Eagles never trailed in the contest as they opened up with seven unanswered points and never looked back. Tech jumped out to a 32-17 lead at halftime, tying for the team's lowest points allowed in a half this season. The Golden Eagles also held the Colonels to 22 percent from the field and 24 percent from 3-point range in the contest.

Tech junior guard Kesha Brady led all players with 17 points, adding five rebounds, an assist, and a steal. Junior forward Mackenzie Coleman joined Brady in double-figures with 12 points, shooting a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, tying for a team-high eight boards, and pulling down a season-high five blocks in the win. Freshman guard Maaliya Owens also had an important impact scoring nine points, including a pair of clutch 3-pointers at the end of the first period, and three boards.

Career Performance

Freshman guard Maaliya Owens had an impressive showing last weekend against the Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs, earning her first-ever OVC weekly honor as Co-Freshman of the Week.

Owens produced a stellar performance as she dropped a career-high 16 points over just 20 minutes of play on Sunday. She connected on 6-of-13 field goals, including 4-of-10 from beyond the arc, all of which were career-high marks. Owens also dished out four assists, pulled down three boards, and recorded her first career block in the rout.

Hot Starts

The Golden Eagles have opened the scoring in nine of their 12 contests this season, with the only three games proving differently being against Southern Illinois, Middle Tennessee, and Western Carolina. Tech has also outscored its opponents 232-155 in the first quarter and 410-305 over the first 20 minutes so far this season, leading to an average halftime score of 34-25.

Approaching Milestones

Anacia Wilkinson set the school record last season for blocked shots in a season with a dominant 92 blocked shots. She has collected 163 blocks throughout her career as a Golden Eagle, sitting just 32 blocks away from breaking the school record of 194 career blocks, set by Melinda Clayton during her four-year Golden Eagle career from 1986-90. On a per game basis, Wilkinson's 1.9 blocks per contest average currently leads the Tech record books.

Akia Harris has collected 839 points throughout her career at Tech and is just 161 points shy of becoming the 31st player in Tech history to surpass the 1,000-points mark during their career as a Golden Eagle.

Jordan Brock has been a dominant long-range threat for the Golden Eagles ever since arriving in Cookeville. Brock currently sits 5th all-time at Tech in made 3-pointers with 173 through 74 contests and 53 away from breaking the school record, held by current assistant coach Allison Clark. Brock has also netted 819 career points as a Golden Eagle, putting her 181 points away from breaking the 1,000-point mark and becoming the 31st Golden Eagle in school history to achieve the feat.

A Look Ahead

Tech will return home to open its OVC home slate on Thursday, Jan. 9 as the Golden Eagles host the Austin Peay Governors for a nationally televised clash on ESPNU at 4 p.m. The Golden Eagles will then close the week on Saturday, Jan. 11 with a home tilt against the Murray State Racers. Tipoff against Murray State is slated for 5:30 p.m.

Photo by Thomas Corhern