By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
DAYTON, Ohio – A tough second half offensively proved too much to overcome for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team Saturday, as the Golden Eagles fell on the road to Wright State, 72-63.
"Once again, we put ourselves in position to have a chance to win this game on the road," Tech head coach John Pelphrey said. "We really battled and stayed together. It's one of the things where we're still just trying to mesh. We missed some really good opportunities around the basket again."
Leading at the half and as late as nine minutes to play in the game, Tech saw the lead slip away after a pair of tough calls and couldn't quite finish a late comeback bid against the Raiders.
Up by four, Diante Wood seemed to give the Golden Eagles a six-point advantage on a floater in the lane with what appeared to be goaltending, but the block was called clean and the home squad answered with a 3-pointer. Down the stretch, Tech got several opportunities around the bucket, corralling 10 offensive boards in the contest, but was only able to convert six second-chance points.
"We have to learn to battle through that," Pelphrey explained. "We need to step up and convert, but when it doesn't go in, we've gotta be able to not drop our head and get back and defend. I thought that was a little of what happened. We were able to get some good looks. I thought the difference in this game was they made some plays around the basket and we did not. I thought that kind of separated everything."
Wright State shot 52.2 percent from the field in the second half and used a decisive advantage at the charity stripe to do a good chunk of its damage down the stretch. The Raiders hit 12-of-13 tries over the final 20 minutes, finishing 17-for-22 for the game. Tech attempted just five shots from the free-throw line, making two.
The Golden Eagles were held to just 37.1 percent from the floor in the second half, including a 2-for-10 mark from beyond the arc. Tech hit 5-of-11 tries from deep in the opening stanza.
"We made some expensive mistakes…and throughout the basketball game, whether it's two points or three points, it adds up in a close game," Pelphrey expressed. "That's the thing our team needs to get better at. Each possession has a life of its own and you have to try and dominate those. That's our challenge."
Returning freshman Kenny White Jr. shined in the loss, exploding for a career-high 24 points to lead all scorers. The forward hit 10-of-12 opportunities from the floor and all three of his tries from beyond the arc.
Mamoudou Diarra added 10 points and a team-high seven rebounds off the bench, shooting 50 percent from the floor and 2-of-3 from distance. Shandon Goldman added eight points and five boards to the mix.
The Golden Eagles close out their non-conference schedule Tuesday evening, making a return to Ohio for a 6:00 p.m. CT battle with Cincinnati.
File photo by Jim Dillon