By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Tennessee Tech saw first-hand on Thursday night how difficult Little Rock's defense was to crack as the Golden Eagles ended their first trip to the Ohio Valley Conference newcomer with a 61-45 defeat at the Stephens Center.
Tech shot 28.6 percent from the field in the contest, including 1-for-11 from the floor in the third quarter. The Golden Eagles were also 2-for-14 from 3-point range in the contest, while the Trojans – who had only hit six through the first six league games – knocked down three.
The biggest success for Tech came at the free-throw line as the Golden Eagles went 15-for-17 at the stripe.
Little Rock dominated inside in the paint with 36 points, while scoring 15 points on turnovers. The Trojans forced 15 turnovers and had four steals.
Maaliya Owens ended the night as Tech's only scorer in double figures, scoring 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting with both Golden Eagle 3-pointers. Peyton Carter had the next best tally with eight points, going 4-for-4 at the line, and had a team-high 12 rebounds.
Sali Kourouma continued her hot hand in league play, scoring 22 points and pulling down a team-best nine boards. Jayla Brooks scored 13 points and Tia Harvey had 10 points. Jaiyah Harris-Smith also had 10 assists in the contest.
Tech led 14-13 after the first quarter, and the contest continued to be close in the second quarter with a five-point, 31-26 Trojan lead at the intermission.
The third quarter proved devastating as a series of events put the Golden Eagles further behind. Following a Brooks layup with 7:39 left in the period to put the Trojans up nine and a Jordan Brock foul on the play, a technical foul was assessed to the Tech bench. Little Rock knocked down all three free throws, then Kourouma scored on the resulting possession to complete a five-point swing.
It all contributed to a 15-0 run by the Trojans, who outscored Tech 16-6 in the period.
The Golden Eagles (11-6, 5-2 OVC) have no time to dwell on the defeat as they will take on Southeast Missouri at 2 p.m. on Saturday. Tech will also have the return game next Saturday circled as the Trojans (9-9, 6-1 OVC) make their first visit to the Eblen Center.
Photo | Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information