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Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Golden Eagles fall in season opener at No. 11 Tennessee

Golden Eagles fall in season opener at No. 11 Tennessee

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A second-half barrage from distance was a key factor in Tennessee Tech's 75-43 loss at No. 11 Tennessee to open the 2022-23 men's basketball season, as the host Volunteers draining 10-of-23 attempts over the final 20 minutes to pull away from the Golden Eagles.

The Tech defense was solid in the opening half of play in Thompson-Boling Arena, holding the Vols to just 31.0 percent shooting from the floor and a cold 4-for-21 from beyond the arc. The purple and gold also forced nine turnovers by Tennessee, but the home squad's defense also proved tough to handle.

Tennessee limited the Golden Eagles to just four field goals over the opening 20 minutes, earning a 27-16 lead. Tech kept itself within striking distance thanks to a 7-for-9 showing from the charity stripe.

The Vols' salvo from deep in the second half, as well as a 17-11 advantage on the glass with 10 offensive boards, was more than enough to secure the season-opening win for the nation's 11th-ranked team. Tech was actually more efficient in the second stanza than its in-state rival, firing 9-for-18 from the floor and 4-for-8 from 3-point range.

It was Tennessee's sheer volume of attempts that led to the 48-27 second-half score. The Vols jacked up 36 shots, twice the number of tries by the purple and gold.

A number of Golden Eagles made their official debuts in the purple and gold on the night, led by junior guard Brett Thompson. The Mineral Area CC transfer posted team-highs of 15 points, six rebounds, and three steals while finishing the evening 8-for-10 from the free-throw line.

Graduate guard Ty Perry produced eight points with a pair of makes from downtown in his first game since transferring from Lafayette. South Dakota transfer Erik Oliver chipped in seven points while Ole Miss transplant Grant Slatten posted six points and two steals.

Tennessee was led by Clay County High School's all-time leading scorer and Indiana State graduate transfer Tyreke Key, scoring 17 points with four makes from distance. He shared the floor with Clay County's second-leading scorer all-time, Tech freshman Grant Strong, who made his collegiate debut with a pair of rebounds. 

The Golden Eagles will head back to Cookeville for their home opener on Thursday, playing host to Tennessee Wesleyan in a 6:00 p.m. CT tilt in the Hooper Eblen Center.

Season tickets for Tennessee Tech men's basketball are now on sale. To order, call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office or visit TTUSports.com.

Photo by Ben Craven, Herald-Citizen

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