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Golden Eagles subdue Morehead State in tough OVC battle in Eblen Center

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – This time the Golden Eagles finished the job.

Tennessee Tech ended a nine-game drought against Morehead State behind Kevin Murphy’s 24 points as the Golden Eagles claimed a 66-55 victory in a rematch of last year’s Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game.

 Murphy tied his career-high by burying six 3-pointers, and also dished out six assists to lead Tech (11-6/3-1 OVC). Jud Dillard added 14 points and nine rebounds and Zac Swansey scored 10.

Morehead State, which had won the last nine games over Tech, fell to 8-9 overall and 2-2 in the league. Marsell Holden was the lone Eagle in double figures with 15 points, while Drew Kelly added nine points and five boards and Ty Proffitt had nine points and nine rebounds.

The next action for Tech comes Saturday night as the Golden Eagles head to unbeaten Murray State for a nationally televised clash (ESPNU) with the league-leading, 18th ranked Racers. It’s part of an OVC doubleheader with the men’s game slated to tipoff at 5 p.m. and the women’s game at 7:30 p.m.

The Golden Eagles had 9-0 and 10-0 runs during the first half, the first pushing Tech on top 13-4 early and the second allowing the hosts to move from a slim 15-12, three-point lead to a 24-12 advantage with 6:49 to play.

The second run included 3-pointers by Swansey and Murphy, and the double-figure difference held up to halftime.  After a three-point play by Bassey Inameti made it 33-18 for Tech’s largest lead of the half, the MSU Eagles canned back-to-back 3-pointers by Marsell Holden and Deande Mathieu to cut the halftime difference down to nine, 33-24.

Tech’s lead dwindled to five in the first five minutes of the second half as Kahlil Owens hit back-to-back layups to make it 39-34. In fact MSU was within five three times, and all three occasions Tech bounced back. First Murphy hit a 3-pointer, then Dillard a layup, and finally a 3-pointer from Swansey. The last made it 47-39 with 10:27 to play.

Two minutes later, Holden’s 3-pointer got MSU to within four at 50-46. The Golden Eagles went 6-for-6 at the free throw line to regain an eight-point bulge, and once more Morehead State cut it to five on another Holden trey.

The Eagles were back within five one final time with 2:38 to play before Murphy hit a 3-pointer for a 61-53 lead. A minute later, Murphy canned his sixth 3-pointer of the night and the Tech lead was back to double figures at 64-53.