By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Efficient offensive play and sheer will propelled the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team to its second road victory of the season Thursday evening, as the Golden Eagles outlasted Little Rock in their first-ever match-up, 77-75.
Tech (9-11, 5-2) earned its fifth straight Ohio Valley Conference win for the first time since the 2006-07 season, moving into a tie with SIUE for first place in the league standings following the Cougars' loss. It also represented the Golden Eagles' first five-game winning streak of any kind since taking home six consecutive victories in non-conference action in 2017-18.
The purple and gold used superior shooting from the start to build an early lead and hold off a late run by the Trojans (5-15, 1-6). After trailing by five early in the contest, Tech caught fire and shot better than 50 percent across the end of the first half.
Leading by seven at the break, 37-30, the Golden Eagles fended off a furious comeback bid by the home squad down the stretch thanks to highly efficient shooting in the second half. Tech extended its advantage to as much as 12 at one point in the second stanza and carried an eight-point lead with just 56 seconds to play.
Little Rock mounted a remarkable rally in the final minute, gathering two, old-fashioned, three-point plays and a timely triple to just miss out on the comeback. Tech hit just enough free throws as the contest came to a close, even after the Trojans cut the deficit to a single point with five seconds.
Despite 16 extra attempts from the field by the Trojans, including a plus-15 mark in the second half alone, Tech held on behind incredible shooting over the final 20 minutes. The Golden Eagles fired at a 61.9 percent clip from the floor and a much-needed 6-for-8 showing (75 percent) from beyond the arc.
Graduate forward Jaylen Sebree led all scorers in the contest, dropping team-highs of 21 points, eight rebounds, and three assists on 8-for-14 shooting. He scored 17 in the second half alone, firing at a 6-for-9 clip.
Junior guard Brett Thompson made the most of his 25 minutes of action off the bench, finishing the night 5-for-6 from the floor and a perfect 3-for-3 from deep on his way to 15 points. Joining his teammates in double figures, junior Jayvis Harvey hit 5-of-9 tries from the field for 14 points.
Big man Nolan Causwell played a season-high 29 minutes off the bench, turning in a career-high seven boards with seven points. Graduate guard Ty Perry and freshman guard Grant Strong also contributed seven points each.
DeAntoni Gordon paced the Trojans with 16 points while CJ White posted a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds, as well as eight assists. D.J Smith chipped in 13 points while Isaiah Palermo notched 15. Jordan Jefferson rounded out the mix with 10 points.
The Golden Eagles will head to Cape Girardeau, Mo. for a Saturday showdown at Southeast Missouri at 4:00 p.m. CT. Tech will look for its sixth-straight OVC win for the first time since winning eight in a row in 2006-07.
Photo by Thomas Corhern