Last week’s PurplePalooza successfully set the school spirit for the upcoming Tech basketball season.
The inaugural PurplePalooza was held Oct. 25 at the Hooper Eblen Center as a tip off celebration for all things basketball at Tech. The night featured performances from the dance team and cheerleading squad as well as two 10-minute scrimmages, a slam-dunk contest and 3-point contests.
The PurplePalooza was created as an alternative to midnight madness, so the fans could feel more in touch with the teams.
“There is no reason the Eblen Center shouldn’t be the most intimidating atmosphere,” Mark Wilson, director of athletics, said to the crowd during PurplePalooza. “Students will be seated in sections I and J, right behind the visiting team’s bench.”
Both basketball teams were picked to finish at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference standings during OVC Media Day. The young men’s team was picked to finish in third place during the regular season, while the women were picked to finish in first.
“At the OVC Media Day we were picked to be the overall champions,” Jim Davis, women’s basketball head coach, said to the crowd. “It is our goal to lead in five categories: rebounding margin, turnover margin, field goals for defense, free throw percentage and intensity.”
The women’s basketball team was up for the first of the two 10-minute scrimmages. The women’s team was split into the white, or home, team and the purple, or away, team. One of the highlights of the scrimmage was watching senior twins Kellie and Kylie Cook go against each other. The scrimmage was full of intense energy as both teams went back and forth until the final buzzer with the white team eventually winning 14-12.
“I look forward to the women’s team every year,” senior Brent Smith said.
The men took the court next in an exhibition of youth and experience that will be necessary to take on OVC foes Murray State University and Belmont University.
“In all of my years here, this is the youngest team I have had,” Steve Payne, men’s head coach, said as he addressed the crowd.
The men’s team was split into two squads, the gold, or home, team and the purple, or away, team. The purple team, led in points by Jud Dillard, dominated the scrimmage 38-25. The scrimmage was a thrilling exhibition of three pointers and dunks, helping to boost the crowd’s energy.
“Anything like this that gets people excited is sure to bring people in,” sophomore Samantha White said.
Fans were treated to a 3-point contest. Contestants had one minute to shoot as many 3-pointers as they could. During the contest the men’s team competed on one side of the court while the women competed on the other. The women’s winner was Kellie Cook, and the men’s and overall winner was Lanerryl Johnson.
“I really enjoyed the action in the 3-point contest,” sophomore Lydia Holmes said. “It was my favorite part.”
The final segment of the night was a slam-dunk contest. Contestants got two chances to successfully make the most creative slam-dunk they could think of. The eventual winner, Javon McKay, dunked over 7-foot-tall Eric Weisenbach.
For more information on Tech’s basketball programs and all of Tech athletics, visit TTUSports.com.