SUU looks to avenge last year's lost to Tenn Tech

SUU looks to avenge last year's lost to Tenn Tech

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CEDAR CITY -- The Southern Utah men's basketball team will look to extend its season-best three-game winning streak and avenge a heartbreaking loss last season when the Thunderbirds (3-2) host Tennessee Tech Wednesday night at the Centrum Arena.

Last year the Golden Eagles stunned SUU 69-68 in Cookeville, Tenn. on a pair of free throws by then-junior guard Will Barnes with six seconds left in regulation.

SUU's Cory Davis turned over the ball in the final seconds before having the opportunity to take a game-winning shot.

Forward Tyler Quinney led the T-Birds with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the game, despite suffering a serious eye injury in practice the morning of the game.

However, with Quinney graduated and Davis gone, a totally revamped line-up will take on Tennessee Tech this time around. Only four players on the roster this season were on the team for the trip to Cookeville.

Senior guard Davis Baker was one of the four players that did play in the heart-breaking loss. Baker scored 16 points in the one-point loss.

"That was a tough game (in Tennessee), I think we should've won," Baker said. "It will be nice of them to come here and have them breathe some of this home altitude."

Head Coach Roger Reid said the major difference between this season and last season is having more depth on the roster.

"The thing that we did this year, is that we went out and got depth," Reid said. "Last year we didn't have any depth, so everyone (knew their role). This year, every practice is a competition because we got 10 or 11 guys who can play."

One of the new faces and key members of the new depth this season is junior guard Ryan Brimley, who has been an early surprise for SUU.

The T-Birds will look to its newest weapon, who has tallied 37 points in the team's last two games— all off the bench for the team.

"(Brimley) knows his role and it's good to have a guy that can come in hit shots," Reid said. "If other guys don't play well, he's going to play."

Brimley missed SUU's season-opening loss to Hawaii with a staph infection and saw limited time against Northern Colorado and McNeese State.

However, Brimley nailed two key 3-pointers against McNeese State in the T-Birds' first win of the season.

Through the first four games of the season, Tennessee Tech has been led by sophomore forward Kevin Murphy.

Murphy, a 6-foot 6-inch slasher-type small forward, has averaged 18.3 points in the four games, including a career-high 24 points in a 92-89 win over Lipscomb and 23 points in a blowout loss to Memphis this season.

In addition, senior guard Frank Davis has averaged just over 10 points per game, while freshman forward Jud Dillard has contributed with nine points per contest in an average of 15 minutes off the bench.

Murphy also is the Golden Eagles' top rebounder this season, averaging five rebounds per game. No Tennessee Tech player has more than five rebounds a game, but four different players average at least four a game.

"They're a good team," Baker said. "So we have to play defense and do a lot of the same things we did (on Saturday) and Thursday."

Tip-off against the Golden Eagles is slated for 7 p.m. Wednesday inside the Centrum Arena.

"We're going to have to step it up and prepare for them; they're going to be prepared for us for sure," Baker said. "So, we owe it to them."

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