By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CINCINNATI, Ohio – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team fought ferociously, but ultimately fell in its final non-conference contest of the 2021-22 season at Cincinnati Tuesday evening, 76-67.
First-half advantages on the glass and in the turnover department by the Bearcats in the first half proved the ultimate difference-maker on the night, as the home squad took a 37-26 advantage into the locker room. Cincinnati hauled in 21 boards over the opening 20 minutes, including eight on the offensive glass, to Tech's 15. Tech also was forced into 11 turnovers in the opening stanza, while forcing seven by the Bearcats.
The Golden Eagles stayed resilient in the second half, outrebounding Cincy 16-15 and making just five turnovers. Tech delivered a resurgent effort on offense over the closing 20 minutes, outscoring the Bearcats 76-67.
The Cookeville crew shot 53.8 percent from the floor on 14-of-26 attempts and a red-hot 55.6 percent from distance with five makes on nine tries.
After spending four seasons at Cincinnati, transfer forward Mamoudou Diarra enjoyed a homecoming of sorts in his return to Ohio, leading the purple and gold with 15 points and a pair of blocks. The big man hit three attempts from downtown while also hauling in four boards.
One game after pouring in a career-high 24 points, returning freshman Kenny White Jr. chipped in 10 points in his first start of the season, all in the second half. He hit 4-of-6 tries from the field. Both Jr. Clay and Daniel Ramsey added eight points to the mix, with Clay also contributing four assists, four boards, and three steals.
The Golden Eagles will have a nine-day hiatus from the hardwood before returning to action on Thursday, Dec. 30. Tech will continue its four-game road swing with an in-state match-up at Tennessee State, opening Ohio Valley Conference play with a 7:30 p.m. CT contest.
Photo courtesy of Cincinnati Athletics