By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Offensive struggles proved too much to overcome for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team Saturday evening, as the Golden Eagles (7-20, 4-10) fell to in-state foe Tennessee State (16-11, 8-6) in Ohio Valley Conference action in Nashville, 70-55.
The purple and gold were held to 29.9 percent shooting from the field and 11.1 percent from 3-point range, overshadowing the team's better job on the boards and in the turnover column. Tech collected 42 rebounds to TSU's 38 and 11 turnovers to the Tigers' 13.
"You have to give Tennessee State a lot of credit," Tech head coach John Pelphrey said. "They played better basketball on both ends of the floor. They are a tough match-up for us right now. They're bigger and more athletic at every position. I thought they did a great job of using their physicality on both ends of the court. They're very specific about where they want to go with the basketball, and it works. And then, when they did miss, it was challenging for us to keep them off the offensive glass."
The first half saw both teams start slow out of the gate, but the Tigers used a 5-0 run to end the first half and take a 30-21 lead into the locker room. TSU extended the lead to as much as 22 in the second stanza.
"For our basketball team, we have struggled at times this year dealing with adversity," Pelphrey explained. "We have struggled at times handling success. For us to be on a two-game winning streak, that may not seem like a lot to some people, but I just felt that tonight, coming in here, that we were going to have to be at our best to have a chance."
"It just wasn't one of our better performances, in either half," Pelphrey added. "We had glimpses at times, but our effort and execution just weren't good enough."
The Golden Eagles return to the Eblen Center for their final two home games of the regular season next week, starting with a Thursday night tilt against UT Martin. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m. CT in the Hooper Eblen Center. Tech will then host Southeast Missouri in a 4:00 p.m. match-up on Saturday, which will also represent Senior Day.
Photo by Thomas Corhern