By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – It was a tough night in the Hooper Eblen Center for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team Thursday, as the Golden Eagles fell to in-state and Ohio Valley Conference rival Tennessee State by a final score of 92-56.
"I thought Tennessee State was excellent tonight," Tech head coach John Pelphrey said. "You have to give them a lot of credit. Their coaching staff had a great game plan and their players did an unbelievable job of executing it, really in both halves. They just outplayed us."
The visiting Tigers (13-16, 8-9) produced at another level offensively during the game, shooting 52.9 percent from the floor and eye-popping 50 percent from 3-point range with 13 makes on 26 attempts. The TSU defense also held the purple and gold to just 32.8 percent shooting and 25 percent from beyond the arc.
"I thought we showed a lot of fight and was kind of encouraged at halftime that we were only down by 12," Pelphrey expressed. "I didn't think we were really able to get anything going at all, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Early on, the ball just wasn't moving and was getting stuck. I thought our shot quality was as low as it has been since the first half at SIUE. I'm not sure it got much better in the second half."
Tech was forced into 15 turnovers in the contest while dishing out just 13 assists. Tech did outwork the Tigers on the glass 41-40, earning a 16-10 advantage on the offensive boards.
"This clearly was not our best night and we're going to give our opponent and their coaches credit," Pelphrey explained. "We just have to figure out right now how to put this aside, because this was one of those performances where even if you won by a bunch of points, we have to get ready for another opponent who is really motivated coming in here Saturday."
Jr. Clay led the Tech scoring effort, hitting 8-of-16 attempts from the field for 18 points while dishing out three assists. Keishawn Davidson produced 16 points on 6-for-11 efficiency and corralled seven rebounds to along with four dimes. Amadou Sylla hauled in a game-high 12 rebounds, including a whopping eight on the offensive glass.
"We can't spend too much time thinking about this, concerned about this, or frustrated by this," Pelphrey added. "None of those things are a part of preparation. We have a good opponent coming in and its Senior Day. We have several seniors that we love and adore and there's something special about those guys. We need to make sure to do everything we can to provide them with a special day and real quality memory."
The Golden Eagles will host in-state rival UT Martin on Saturday in a 7:30 p.m. CT tilt in the Hoop. The game marks Senior Night for the Tech squad, with Jr. Clay, Shandon Goldman, John Pettway, Amadou Sylla, and manager Trey Treadway all being honored prior to the contest and following the women's tilt, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
Photo by Jim Dillon