By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
MOREHEAD, Ky. – In a rematch from Monday's tilt in the Hooper Eblen Center, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team pushed Morehead State to the limit Thursday afternoon, falling in a tightly contested Ohio Valley Conference tilt at Johnson Arena, 75-68.
The Golden Eagles (5-17, 2-7) owned a large as a three-point lead in the first half, and, following a late run in the stanza by the Eagles (18-6, 10-1), cut an eight-point deficit to six. Headed into the locker room, the purple and gold trailed just 31-25, outshooting the home squad from the floor and downtown. Morehead did win the first-half rebounding battle, 23-15, leading to the difference on the scoreboard.
Both sides waged war in the second half, with the Golden Eagles answering every mini-run by Morehead State for much of the period. Trailing by as much as nine earlier in the stanza, Tech tied the contest at 57-57 with 6:26 to play on a Jr. Clay layup.
The Eagles answered with a 12-2 run, taking their largest lead of the day at 69-59 with just 2:32 to go in the contest. Tech never backed down, following with five straight of its own behind a layup by Kenny White Jr. and another triple from Clay.
With 30 seconds to play, the Golden Eagles were forced to foul, sending the Eagles to the free-throw line eight times to end the game. Morehead missed two of the attempts, allowing Tech to pull to as close a 72-68 and have a chance to cut the deficit to three with seven seconds to play with a pair of its own freebies.
The purple and gold missed the first opportunity and opted to miss the second on purpose to try and snag an offensive rebound. Morehead's Johni Broome hauled in the miss, however, setting the Eagles up for the 75-68 final. Broome led all players in the contest with 25 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks.
For the purple and gold, it was Clay pacing the offensive effort in the team's second straight match-up with its longtime OVC rival. The guard dropped a season-high 22 points with a pair of steals and three makes from distance.
White Jr. recorded 13 points with three steals and five rebounds while John Pettway joined the group in double figures, scoring 10 points with four boards. Keishawn Davidson put forth eight points, four rebounds, three assists, and three steals while Amadou Sylla corralled a team-high 19 rebounds to go along with three points. Daniel Ramsey chipped in seven points with four steals.
The Golden Eagles return to the Eblen Center for doubleheader action on Saturday, playing host to Belmont at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Tech women's squad will off the night with a contest against the Bruins at 5:30 p.m.
Photo by Thomas Corhern