Dillard and Dunn come off bench to combine for 40 points
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Southeast Missouri forced Tennessee
Tech to play catch-up the entire game, and the Golden Eagles never
quite got over the hump. The Redhawks (3-10/2-2 OVC) won their
third straight game and second Ohio Valley Conference road contest
in a row, edging Tech 77-75 Tuesday night in Eblen Center.
Tech's two-game win streak ended as the Golden Eagles (4-6/2-1 OVC) suffered their first conference loss of the season.
Sophomore Marland Smith was 5-for-7 from long distance and 6-of-6 at the line on his way to 23 points to pace SEMO. Senior Anthony Allison added 19 points and six rebounds. Also hitting double digits, Leon Powell had 13 points and led SEMO with eight rebounds, and Cameron Butler finished with 10 points and five boards.
Dillard (photo above right) and freshman Chase Dunn came off
the bench to provide a boost to the Tech offense. Dillard netted 21
points and grabbed seven rebounds, hitting 7-for-10 from the field
and 8-of-10 at the charity stripe. Dunn had 19 points, including
3-for-5 from long range.
Senior Alfred Jones also hit double figures, going 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points. Point guard Zac Swansey dished out a season-high 12 assists and added eight points.
Tech spent the entire first half playing catch-up after the Redhawks had built as much as a 14-point lead behind some solid long-range shooting. The Redhawks were 5-for-7 from outside the yellow arc in the first half and a 14-2 SEMO run early in the contest turned a 7-7 contest into a 21-9 lead for the visitors. Marland Smith had a 3-pointer, Cameron Butler scored four and Leon Powell netted the final four in the stretch.
The SEMO lead reached 14 for the second time on a pair of free throws by Anthony Allison, making it 30-16 with 6:29 to play.
Still down by a 10 after Lucas Nutt nailed a 3-pointer, Tech went on an 11-2 run to close the contest down to a one-point difference. Chase Dunn and Zac Swansey each hit 3-pointers and Jud Dillard's two free throws made it 37-36 with 1:37 remaining.
Powell's layup with a second left put things at 40-36 at halftime.
It took Tech more than seven minutes of the second half to finally catch up, but a layup by Terrell Barnes and a free throw 40 seconds later brought Tech all the way back to a 49-49 tie with 12:50 to play.
The teams swapped leads for the next three minutes before SEMO
went up by five on a trey by Smith with 8:43 to play. Dillard hit
back-to-back jumpers and Dunn buried a 3-pointer to spark a 9-0
Tech run, and the Golden Eagles had the crowd excited with a 62-58
But the Redhawks didn't fold, getting another 3-pointer by Smith and a driving layup by Allison to knot the score at 63-63.
Tech managed just one more lead, a 66-65 edge following a free
throw by Dunn. The tally was tied again at 68-68 and for the ninth
time in the contest at 70-all, before SEMO edged ahead for good. A
free throw by Butler with 1:30 and a layup by Allison with 45
seconds to play made it 73-70. The lead went to five points as
Smith hit two free throws with 31 seconds remaining.
Swansey's 3-pointer with 21 seconds left cut it to two, 75-73, but the Redhaws made two free throws to regain a four-point advantage with 10 seconds to play. Murphy hit a basket at the buzzer to make it a two-point final.
The Golden Eagles shot 50 percent (24-for-48) from the field and 41.7 percent (5-for-12) from long range. SEMO hit 44.2 percent overall (23-for-52) and 63.6 percent (7-for-11) from outside the stripe.
Rebounds were dead-even with 30 apiece, and both teams had similar numbers at the free throw line. There were 65 total free throws and 55 total fouls called.
After a week-long break from action for Christmas, the Golden Eagles will return to action in Eblen Center on Thursday, Dec. 30, hosting Crowley's Ridge College at 7 p.m.