Newton, McMorrow lead Golden Eagles over Crowley's Ridge

Click to view video of Charles Newton's comments following win

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – As expected, Tennessee Tech returned to action Thursday night with a 106-44 non-conference victory over visiting Crowley's Ridge College in the Eblen Center.

What wasn't expected was the battle the Pioneers gave the Golden Eagles for the first 15 minutes of the game. It took a flurry a 3-pointers by Charles Newton late in the half and a handful of steals to ignite a rally that turned a five-point lead into a 27-point bulge by halftime.

Newton went 5-for-7 from long distance and finished with a career-high 23 points to top all scorers. He also had three assists and four of Tech's 22 steals. Liam McMorrow had his second career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds, and also swiped the ball four times.

Tech had five players in double figures. Joining Newton and McMorrow, Kevin Murphy had 19 points, Zac Swansey added 12 points and nine assists, and Jud Dillard netted 10. Terrell Barnes finished with seven points and 10 rebounds as Tech posted a 50-29 margin on the glass.

Quentin Franks led Crowley's Ridge with 10 points while Kurtis Edson added nine. Zach Mitchell finished with eight points, five assists and four steals, and Ethan talent had eight points and four rebounds.  

The Golden Eagles were pushed for much of the first half by the Pioneers and also struggled to shake off the rust from a nine-day layoff. Once untracked, Tech took control and improved to 5-6 overall. The Pioneers, a National Christian College Athletic Association program from northeast Arkansas, saw their record slip to 5-7.

The Golden Eagles remain at home for their next game, hosting Bluefield College Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the second game of a doubleheader matinee. The Tech women's team hosts St. Louis University at 2 p.m. to open the action.

Sunday's games are "Church Bulletin Sunday" with fans invited to purchase tickets for one dollar simply by showing a church bulletin (limit four per bulletin). The ticket office will be close Friday and Saturday, and will open Sunday at 1 p.m.

The Golden Eagles looked unstoppable in the opening minutes, rolling out to a 9-0 lead and jumping on top 14-5 as Murphy hit six early points. The lead made it to double figures quickly, when McMorrow's dunk made it 18-7 with 13:27 to play.

Franks hit back-to-back mid-range jumpers to rally Crowley's Ridge back to within seven points, 18-11, with 12 minutes to go.

Alfred Jones dropped in a layup on an inbounds play, and added the free throw for a three-point play and the lead was back to double digits, 21-11. Consecutive 3-pointers by Quentin Fields and Edson cut the difference down to five, 21-16, with 10;57 remaining and the Pioneers used that to keep their confidence high.

The visitors were still within eight points, 28-20, with 6:21 to play in the half when Tech exploded for a 23-2 run over the next five minutes. Newton hit four consecutive 3-pointers in the run and Tech was on top 51-22 with two minutes left.

The second half saw Tech outscore the Pioneers 38-2 in the paint and 24-4 off turnovers. Crowley's Ridge finished with 30 turnovers. The largest margin was the final 62-point difference.

Tech shot 57.6 percent in the first half and used numerous dunks in the second period to shoot 64.9 percent after the intermission. It left coach Mike Sutton's squad with a 61.4 percent mark for the game (43-for-70).