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Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles

Tech outlasts Skyhawks in overtime thriller in Martin

Tech outlasts Skyhawks in overtime thriller in Martin

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

MARTIN, Tenn. – Timely stops and relentless effort lifted the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team to its second straight victory Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles outlasted UT Martin, 84-80, in an overtime barnburner at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center in Martin, Tenn.

The contest had all the makings of an instant classic from tip-off, with both sides challenging each other offensively throughout the first half. Both teams entered the final media break of the opening stanza shooting an electric 60 percent or better from the field before things cooled down headed into the break.

Entering halftime, the Golden Eagles (6-11, 2-2) led 46-40 behind 56.3 percent efficiency from the floor and an eye-popping 8-for-18 showing from distance. The Skyhawks (10-7, 2-2) kept relative pace behind a 53.3 percent showing from the field.

Junior guard Jayvis Harvey provided the heavy lifting for the purple and gold over the opening 20 minutes, rolling out 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting and a 3-for-5 effort from downtown.

The second half proved to be more of a slog on offense for both sides, particularly the Golden Eagles, who converted just 8-of-29 attempts from the floor at a 27.6 percent clip. Despite Tech opening the second stanza with a solid run to push its advantage to as high as 11, the Skyhawks responded with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to a single point with nearly 15 minutes left in regulation.

From that point on, it was war between the two sides, as the contest saw 10 ties the rest of the way, with neither side taking a two-possession lead again until overtime. Each side traded blows down the stretch, with the home squad taking a two-point lead with 1:10 on the clock.

Tech head coach John Pelphrey called for a timeout, drawing up a play that saw graduate guard Jaylen Sebree drive the lane and drain a floating jumper to square the contest at 71-71 with just under a minute to play. UT Martin's Parker Stewart missed on a potential go-ahead triple, giving the Golden Eagles the ball and possible final possession of the half.

After running the clock down, Harvey looked for the game-winner with a pull-up jumper just inside the arc, but the Skyhawks hauled in the miss with one second to play and called a timeout of their own. Their ensuing pass attempt deflected off their own man, giving Tech the ball at the UT Martin baseline with 0.6 seconds to play, but the Golden Eagles couldn't convert and the crowd in the Elam Center was treated to free basketball.

In the overtime period, Perry buried a triple early only to see the Skyhawks answer with their own. A turnaround jumper from Sebree put Tech back on top, but the home squad responded once more to even the score.

In need of a bucket to stay in control, sophomore guard Grant Slatten delivered one of the key plays of the game, hauling in an offensive board on the next possession and flipping the ball mid-air to a wide-open Diante Wood for the go-ahead bucket.

Again UT Martin squared things up with a layup, and, following a Golden Eagle turnover, finally looked to take its own lead. A missed layup allowed Sebree to haul in a critical rebound and give Tech its final timeout of the contest.

The purple and gold responded from the break by turning to the top scorer on the floor all night. Harvey calmly worked his way into the paint and knocked down a turnaround jumper to put Tech back on top for good at 80-78.

The Skyhawks missed a 3-point field goal try from the corner on the next trip down the floor and junior guard Brett Thompson found the ball before drawing a foul. He calmly knocked down four free throws over the final 22 seconds to help ice the ball game.

The purple and gold shot converted 4-of-5 tries from the field in the overtime period, finishing at 45.5 percent for the game. Tech also knocked down 13-of-13 attempts from deep on the night while out-rebounding the Skyhawks, 40-37.

The victory marked the first on the road for the Golden Eagles since defeating Austin Peay in Clarksville late last February, pushing Tech's Ohio Valley Conference mark to 2-2.

Harvey led all scorers behind career-highs of 23 points and five makes from distance and added five boards to the mix. Sebree posted 14 points and seven rebounds while Perry delivered 13 points and a pair of dimes.

Jumping in on the double-digit scoring action were Thompson and Wood, each contributing 10 points on the night. Wood just missed a double-double, settling for nine boards and team-highs of five assists and two blocks. Thompson snagged four boards and dished out a trio of dimes.

Slatten did the dirty work on the glass all evening, corralling a game-high 10 boards in just over 20 minutes of action off the bench. He provided five points to the effort as well.

KJ Simon led the Skyhawks with 19 points while Stewart added 18 and Koby Jeffries racked up 15.

The Golden Eagles return home for a pair of OVC tilts next week, starting with a Thursday affair against Morehead State at 7:30 p.m. CT at the Hooper Eblen Center. Tech will then play host to in-state rival Tennessee State in a 3:00 p.m. match-up on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Alex Boggis, UT Martin Media Relations

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