Men’s basketball takes on ETSU

Tech Men’s Basketball has played well in two contests this season, an exhibition blowout win over Carson-Newman, and a hard-fought loss against Atlantic Coast Conference power North Carolina State last week. In the NC State game, the Golden Eagles hung with the Wolfpack for the first half, as they were only down 37-34.

Despite dominating the Wolfpack on the boards, Tech couldn’t overcome some early second half foul trouble, and came up short in the end, 82-69.

Still, Junior point guard Zac Swansey said there were good things that took place, despite the loss.

“We played well for a lot of the game,” Swansey said, “but we didn’t do the things we needed to pull it off. On the other hand, we did some great things, which we will try to carry over against East Tennessee State University. “We see it as an opportunity to get better.”

Tech will be visiting ETSU, a team that has also recently lost to a powerhouse basketball school. The Buccaneers from Johnson City, Tenn. will be hungry for a win after a 23-point loss to Kentucky.

“It’s always tough going on the road,” Swansey said. “When you play away games, you are playing the team plus all their fan support.

“We’re going down there with a chip on their shoulder to get a win, especially because it’s their homecoming.”

Both teams are looking for their first regular-season win for this season.

Some things coach Sutton has been preaching to his Golden Eagle squad is communication and defense. If those two things are working well for Tech, they have a good chance against ETSU, who only put up 39 points against Murray State Monday.

The Buccaneers shot 33 percent from the floor, 10 percent from 3-point range and committed 25 turnovers.

“Our offense can be great,” Swansey said, “but if we don’t play good team defense, it’ll be hard for us to be a great team.

“We want to be a great team, but with the defense as our backbone.”

After the ETSU game Saturday, Tech returns home to host the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers destroyed NAIA school Montreat in their last game to push their record to 2-0. The visit to Cookeville will be part of a six-game road trip for App State.

“We are looking forward to [a stretch with more home games],” Swansey said. “We are excited about our team and we want to play in front of our great fans because we definitely have an advantage.”

Swansey and backcourt-mate Zach Bailey combined for seven assists versus NC State and 10 in the Exhibition game versus Carson-Newman. In order to be successful the rest of the season, Swansey said, the guard play has to continue to be good, and they have to establish the post game early.

“We have talented front court players,” Swansey said. “We have to establish our big men early in the game. It not only gets them involved but opens up for guard play as well.

“To be successful in the [Ohio Valley Conference], you must have good guard play. As the point guard, I try to lead the team, and playing with [Bailey] is great.

“We have really meshed.”

After the Appalachian State game, Tech travels to East Lansing, Mich., to take on the Michigan State Spartans. That game is scheduled for Nov. 28.

Tech’s first OVC game is scheduled at Jacksonville State on Dec. 2. For more information on all Tech Athletics, visit