The loss on the road is bad. The potential loss of their point guard could very well be worse.
Jeremiah Samarrippas goes out after an injury during the first half, and a late comeback effort falls short as SIU Edwardsville gets their first conference win 58-54.
Neither team shoots well at all on the night, with both teams held under 40%. Neither team took control during the first half, and a Jerome Jones three pointer with 38 seconds in the half put the Cougars up three at the break.
The second half started similarly, with the Cougars lead still at three with 14:45 to go. Over the next three minutes, both teams go cold from the field, and no points are scored until a pair of Jerome Jones field goals with 11:20 to play. Jones would also break the field goal drought on the next possession, extending SIU Edwardsville’s lead to seven, part of an extended 9-0 run.
A Terrell Barnes layup with 8:45 to go would break a nearly eight minute scoring drought for Tennessee Tech, and somewhat amazingly, the Golden Eagles were still within eight. After a Lanerryl Johnson layup with 7:11 left, the Golden Eagles would find themselves on another field goal drought, not hitting another shot for five and a half minutes. Thanks in part to free throw shooting, the Matt Marseille layup with 1:30 to go would pull Tennessee Tech within five. The Golden Eagles would then turn over the ball on their next three possessions, but a Marseille three with :24 seconds remaining makes it’s just a four point game.
From there, Michael Messer would make five of six free throws in the final 15 seconds, as SIU Edwardsville holds off Tennessee Tech.
Jud Dillard scores a game-high 29 points, but as has been the case all too often, gets little scoring help. Marseille finished with 10 points off the bench, but the rest of the starting five: 5 points. In fact, no starter outside of Dillard plays more than 16 minutes. The Golden Eagles finish the night just 34% from the field, and 3-20 (15%) from behind the arc.
As of now, there’s no word on the extent of Samarrippas injury.
Those late free throws by Messer gave him a game-high 14 points. Jones added 13, the only other Cougar in double figures. Mark Yelovich continues to play more minutes: 24 tonight, scoring 9 points and pulling down 5 rebounds. SIU Edwardsville commits just 14 turnovers, forcing 21 from Tennessee Tech.
If any team could not afford an injury right now, it’s Tennessee Tech; especially not to one of their few experienced players. That’s only going to put more pressure on Dillard, who continues to put the team on his shoulders this year. Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious, as they need him in the lineup.
An ugly win, but a win for SIU Edwardsville, and an important one at that. A loss would have them one of two winless teams; now they’re one of four one-win teams. Two of those current one-win teams will make the OVC Tournament, assuming Eastern Illinois doesn’t make a run of their own. With Tennessee Tech also being one of those teams, holding the tiebreaker over the Golden Eagles could be important.
Only one game for Tennessee Tech this week, as they host Southeast Missouri. (10-9, 2-3) SIU Edwardsville travels to Austin Peay (5-13, 1-3) and Murray State. (12-4, 3-1)