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February 20, 2010

Golden Eagles drop BrackerBuster contest at Appalachian State

BOONE, N.C. – Tennessee Tech wrapped up a tedious week on the road with a visit to Appalachian State Saturday night, and the Golden Eagles couldn’t keep pace with a red-hot Mountaineer squad, suffering an 81-68 non-conference loss in a Bracket Buster contest.

Donald Sims, the leading scorer in the Southern Conference and the top free throw shooter in the nation, led Appy State with 25 points, one of four Mountaineers in double figures. Sims hit all 10 of his free throws and his 5-for-9 effort from the arc helped ASU shoot 12-for-22 from long range.

Kellen Brand added 16 points while Isaac Butts and Jeremi Booth added 15 each. Booth was 5-for-7 from long range.

Tech’s top scorer was sophomore Kevin Murphy, who matched Sims with 25 points. He was 10-for-12 at the charity line and added five rebounds and five assists. Alfred Jones was the only other Golden Eagle to score in double figures, netting 12 on 6-for-10 shooting.

Point guard Elijah Muhammad contributed eight points and four assists and was the team’s top rebounder with seven.

Tech’s record slipped to 13-16 overall while Appalachian State improved to 17-11 with five wins in the last six games.

The Golden Eagles led early in the contest as Muhammad his a pair of 3-pointers, helping lift Tech to a 13-10 lead.

Josh Hunter spun together a three-point play to tie the game with 14 minutes to go in the opening half and with 12:34 on the clock, Butts made a free throw that put the Mountaineers ahead.

Tech was able to manage one more tie on a jumper by Davis that made it 15-15. Brand hit a layup and Sims followed with a 3-pointer and A-State had a 20-15 lead.

It was a lead that held up until the final buzzer.

A 10-2 ASU run pushed the difference to double figures as the Mountaineers got up 30-17. The largest Appy State lead of the half was 14 before Tech closed with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to five at halftime, 39-34.

A Sims 3-pointer got the lead back to 10, and once again the Golden Eagles rallied. Jones hit consecutive baskets to slice the difference to 48-44, but it was as close as Tech could make it.

Brand scored five points in a 25-second span, igniting a 7-0 Mountaineer run and the lead ballooned back to double figures. The nearest the Golden Eagles would get after that was seven points, 58-51, on a 3-pointer by Frank Davis.

ASU shot 54.2 percent (26-for-48) from the field, punctuated by the 12-for-22 effort from the arc for 54.5 percent. Tech shot 45.3 percent (24-for-53) from the field but only 4-for-12 from long distance.

After playing three road games in six days, including two that went to overtime, the Golden Eagles finally get a break in the action and a full week to prepare for the regular season finale. Tech hosts Jacksonville State on Saturday (Feb. 27) in Eblen Center, a game where the winner earns the OVC Tournament’s No. 6 seed and the loser takes the No. 7 spot and a trip to Morehead State.

The game against JSU is Senior Night for the Golden Eagles, who will bid farewell to guards Frank Davis and Elijah Muhammad.

Tickets are on sale at the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center, or by calling (931) 372-3940. Tickets are also available online at TTUsports.com.