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January 28, 2010

Golden Eagles pull away late, top Eastern Illinois Panthers 75-65

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Elijah Muhammad scored 10 consecutive points to help Tennessee Tech pull away from a tie contest in the final four minutes and Frank Davis reached the 1,000-point mark in his career on the way to a 75-65 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Eastern Illinois Thursday night in Eblen Center.

The Golden Eagles (11-10 overall/5-5 OVC) have now won three in a row and four of their last five games, helping to make things interesting in the middle of the OVC standings. Eastern Illinois (11-10 overall/5-6 OVC) slipped a half-game behind Tech in the league race.

Muhammad was the leading scorer in the contest, finishing with 18 points along with four assists and five steals. Tech had four players in double figures, including Alfred Jones with 16, Kevin Murphy with 14 and Davis with 12. Davis has now scored 1,003 career points.

Jeremy Granger led EIU with 16 points while T.J. Marion added 12 points and five assists and Tyler Laser scored 10.

Tech hit 53.3 percent (24-for-45) from the field, the 10th time in the last 12 games that the Golden Eagles topped the 50 percent mark. Tech was also deadly from the free throw line, htting 21-for-24 for 87.5 percent.

One of the most telling stats in the game came in Tech’s production off EIU turnovers. The Golden Eagles scored 20 points off 13 EIU mistakes while the Panthers had four points off nine Tech turnovers.

The lead changed hands 12 times and the score was tied five times.

The Panthers had the upper hand in the first half, leading for all but 31 seconds of the period, including as much as a nine-point bulge (29-20) with 4:11 to play.

After trading control of the contest through the first 15 minutes of the second half, the Golden Eagles tied the game at 53-53 with 4:43 left on a free throw by Murphy. His second charity toss put Tech in front, and the Golden Eagles never relinquished the lead.

Zach Bailey buried a 3-pointer, then Muhammad scored the next 10 points as the TTU lead grew to 67-55 with 1:25 left. With 40 seconds remaining, Frank Davis’ first made free throw gave him 1,000 points and he added three more down the stretch.

Southeast Missouri visits Eblen Center Saturday night, the final contest in Tech’s four-game homestand, with tipoff at approximately 7:30 p.m. following the women’s contest. Tech will bid to equal the team’s longest winning streak of the year by getting its fourth straight against the Redhawks.

Tickets are available at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Fans who need an H1N1 vaccination may get the shot free at Eblen Center from the Putnam County Health Dept., and will receive a free ticket to the game for getting vaccinated.

Fans are also asked to bring canned food or other non-perishable food items for a collection to go to victims in Haiti.