Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Golden Eagles outlast Redhawks in Thursday-nigh barn-burner

Golden Eagles outlast Redhawks in Thursday-nigh barn-burner

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It came down to the wire, but the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team held off Southeast Missouri in a marathon shootout in the Hooper Eblen Center Thursday evening, outlasting the visiting Redhawks (11-16, 6-8) in a critical Ohio Valley Conference match-up, 98-94.

It looked like it could be a long night for the Golden Eagles (8-19, 5-9), as the visitors from Cape Girardeau, Mo. kicked off the night by drilling each of their first seven attempts from beyond the arc.

"We have a lot of respect for SEMO," Tech head coach John Pelphrey said. "They've been one of the better teams in our league and they are an outstanding offensive basketball team. They are guard-heavy and can put shooting at the five. They got off to a great start. I didn't think our defense was terrible. I thought we might have been a step slow, but that was because of the execution and ball movement."

The fireworks from deep led to a 12-point lead for SEMO, but the purple and gold never backed down. Behind a relentless defensive effort and timely shooting, the Golden Eagles worked their way back and delivered a 12-0 run to end the half with a four-point advantage.

"I thought the biggest key in the game was just the guys' leadership and resiliency to stay with it," Pelphrey explained. "I think in the past those things would have become a huge distraction for us and may have cost us the whole half. It may have cost us four minutes. Sometimes that's where the separation of the games has come for us.

"We tried to do a number of things defensively. We ended up changing coverages and just switching everything and the guys did an amazing job. They just started getting steals just from that. We had 13 in the game, which is a monster number."

Both sides battled back-and-forth in the second half, with Tech opening up as large as a nine-point lead of its own. The Redhawks stuck with it, squaring things at 81-81 with just under three minutes to play, but the Golden Eagles made play-after-play down the stretch, including sinking each of their final 11 free throws.

"From an offensive perspective, we've been getting better and better," Pelphrey expressed. "We've had really good moments throughout the year, but here of late, you take the SIUE first half out, our guys have been playing at a very high level from an offensive perspective.

"I'm super proud of them. We had six guys in double figures and 24 assists. We had great shooting percentages. We got to the free-throw line. The guys deserve a lot of credit for tonight."

The 13 steals marked the second-most for the purple and gold this season while the 32 free-throw attempts represented a season-high. Tech moved to 6-2 on the year when recording at least 20 assists, dishing out 24 on the night. The team's 98 points marked the most against a Division I opponent since dropping 104 in a victory in the Pit at New Mexico on Nov. 21, 2017.

It marked the first time since Nov. 16, 2017 against Boyce College that six Golden Eagles finished in double figures, led by veteran Jr. Clay. The Chattanooga native tallied 19 with six assists, two steals, and a 9-for-10 showing at the charity stripe. On the night, he recorded his 90th career game in double figures and became just the fourth player in program history to post four seasons with at least 20 double-digit scoring performances.

Graduate guard John Pettway continued his hot stretch, hitting 7-of-9 attempts from the field on his way to 17 points and three steals. Kenny White Jr. chipped in 16 points and a career-high five steals while Daniel Ramsey contributed 13 points with six rebounds.

Keishawn Davidson flirted heavily with a double-double, producing 12 points and a game-high nine assists. Amadou Sylla rounded out the Tech group in double figures, totaling 10 with six boards of his own. Shandon Goldman also posted eight points and five rebounds off the bench.

The Golden Eagles will hit the road one final time in the 2021-22 regular season, squaring off with in-state foe Austin Peay Saturday at 4:00 p.m. CT in Clarksville, Tenn. The contest represents a rematch from the two teams' earlier tilt in Cookeville, a 58-55 win for the Governors on Jan. 29.

Photo by Jim Dillon

© Tennessee Tech Athletics

1100 McGee Blvd. // TTU Box 5057 // Cookeville, TN 38505

Privacy Policy