By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – A back-and-forth battle for most of the day, Western Carolina pulled away late to defeat the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team, 75-65, in the Hooper Eblen Center Saturday afternoon.
The two sides played it close over the first half, with the Catamounts pulling away by as much as nine after draining three straight triples with just over three minutes on the clock. Tech cut the deficit to just seven at the break, trailing 37-30.
The Golden Eagles came out of the half on a mission, immediately cutting the deficit to one over the opening three minutes. Tech took its first lead of the second half with 14:50 to play, moving out by as much as four with 11 minutes left in the contest.
WCU answered back, retaking the lead and snapping the final tie with under eight minutes on the clock. The visitors just edged out further as the second half came to an end, expanding to as much as 11 before the 75-65 final.
Tech was more efficient on the day, shooting 44 percent from the floor, 47 percent from distance, and 78.6 percent from the charity stripe. Western Carolina, however, made six more free throws on eight more attempts and drilled two more 3-pointers.
Tech guard Jayvis Harvey turned in a career-high 19 points while sinking all six of his free-throw attempts. The junior converted three of his four tries from distance and hauled in three rebounds.
Forward Jaylen Sebree followed up his career-high 25-point outburst at Lipscomb with 16 points on 5-for-10 shooting and a 3-for-4 day from downtown. The graduate transfer from Morehead State also tied for the team lead with six rebounds.
Rookie guard Grant Strong turned in a great showing off the bench, finishing 4-for-4 from the field on his way to 10 points in 24 minutes of action. Graduate guard Ty Perry dished out a team-high six assists while center Nolan Causwell tied Sebree for the team lead of six boards.
Also a Morehead State transfer, Western Carolina's Tyzhaun Claude (former teammate of Sebree), posted a game-high 21 points. The Catamounts' Vonterius Woolbright flirted with a triple-double with 18 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists.
The purple and gold will round out the non-conference season Tuesday evening with a home contest against Kentucky Christian. Tip is set for 6:00 p.m. CT in the Hoop.
Photo by Jim Dillon