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Coppin State edges Golden Eagles in overtime thriller

Coppin State edges Golden Eagles in overtime thriller

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – In a see-saw affair that was so good, it needed an extra five minutes to determine a winner, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team dropped a heartbreaker to visiting Coppin State Thursday evening, falling to the Eagles in overtime, 90-85, in the Eblen Center.

Marking the second of two games for the Golden Eagles in the Herd Run Hoops Jam presented by Tarkett Sports multi-team event, the contest saw a whopping 25 lead changes and 17 ties with neither side boasting a double-digit lead at any point.

In the first-ever tilt between the two programs, it was Coppin State that came out swinging early, pushing out front by as much as nine points with 5:33 to play in the opening stanza. Tech patiently responded, using a 14-3 run to close the first half for a 33-31 advantage heading into the locker room.

The second half featured a similar mold to the first, with the visiting Eagles edging their way back out to a nine-point advantage at 63-54 with just under eight minutes to play in regulation. Following a media timeout, the purple and gold began to once again push its way back into the contest, eventually squaring things at 64 with just under four minutes of action to go.

CSU's Nendah Tarke drilled a huge three with 47 seconds to play to push his team back on top at 73-70, but Tech continued to fight. Graduate guard Ty Perry hit a free throw to pull the Golden Eagles back to within two before junior guard Brett Thompson entered back into the contest and delivered one of the key plays of the night.

The Oakland, Calif. native drew an offensive foul against the Eagles' Sam Sessoms with 24 ticks on the clock, providing the purple and gold one more opportunity with the ball. It paid off as Thompson found junior forward Daniel Ramsey in the post for a game-tying layup with 11 seconds to go. Sessoms missed a last-second, step-back jumper from just outside the paint to send the ball game to an extra session.

An explosive start for the Golden Eagles in overtime couldn't hold up to the lights-out shooting of Coppin State, as Thompson buried a triple with just over two minutes to play to extend the Tech lead to four. From there, the offense went cold while CSU was nearly perfect in the extra period.

The Eagles sunk 5-of-6 tries from the field, including a 2-for-2 mark from downtown and 5-for-5 showing at the charity stripe, to end the night on an 8-0 run and walk out of the gym with a 90-85 victory.

Sessoms led all scorers in the contest with 24 points and 10 assists, chipping in five boards as well. Tarke finished with 16 points and nine rebounds while Justin Winston added 15 points to the CSU effort.

Pacing the Golden Eagles was graduate forward Jaylen Sebree, dropping a career-high 22 points on 50 percent shooting. He just missed a double-double with a team-high nine boards and finished the evening 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. Perry tacked on a season-best 17 points with five dimes and four rebounds.

Ramsey put forth a solid effort, firing at a 60 percent clip from the floor on his way to 14 points and seven boards. Junior guard Erik Oliver also produced 14 points, tying Perry for the team lead with five helpers. Thompson rounded out the starting lineup, who combined for 80 of Tech's 85 points, scoring 13 with four dimes and a pair of steals.

For their efforts at both the Marshall contest on Monday and the tilt with Coppin State, both Sebree and Perry collected All-Tournament honors for the Herd Run Hoops Jam presented by Tarkett Sports MTE.

The Golden Eagles will continue their three-game homestand Sunday afternoon, playing host to in-state rival ETSU in a 3:00 p.m. match-up in the Hoop.

Photo by Jim Dillon

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