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Shooting struggles cost Golden Eagles against Tennessee State

Dillard notches seventh double-double of season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech struggled from the field for the second straight outing Saturday at Tennessee State, falling 68-53 to the surging Tigers at Gentry Center.

The Golden Eagles outrebounded the Tigers 42-29 and junior guard Jud Dillard notched his seventh double-double of the season, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, but Tech couldn't overcome its shooting struggles.

TTU shot 35.6 percent from the field, went 4-for-21 from three-point range and hit 50 percent of its free throws, falling to 16-11 overall and 8-6 in Ohio Valley Conference play. TSU, which has now won seven consecutive games, improved to 17-10 overall and 10-4 in the OVC.

After a back-and-forth first half, TSU began to stretch its one-point halftime lead early in the second period. The Tigers led 47-41 with 10:36 left to play and then scored the game's next 11 points to take a commanding 58-41 lead that the Golden Eagles wouldn't recover from.

In addition to Dillard's double-double performance, Zac Swansey scored 11 points and added five assists while the Golden Eagles got eight points apiece from Bassey Inameti and Kevin Murphy. Terrell Barnes collected eight rebounds while Liam McMorrow added six.

Swansey moved into fifth on Tech's all-time assists list, passing Cameron Crisp. In less than two full years in a Golden Eagle uniform, Swansey has now distributed 370 career assists.

Tennessee State shot 57 percent in the second half and hit 77 percent of its free throws to close out the game in the final minutes. The Tigers were led by Robert Covington, who scored 16 points to go with Kellen Thornton's 12 points and Kenny Moore's 11.

 Tech jumped out to an early 9-2 lead on the Tigers behind two rim-rattling dunks from Inameti, another dunk from Dillard and a three by Swansey, forcing Tennessee State to call an early time out. The Golden Eagles continued to hold onto the lead until the 9:35 mark of the first half when a Jordan Cyphers three-pointer gave TSU its first advantage of the evening at 20-19.

The Tigers led by as many as five down the stretch in the first half, but TTU sliced the lead back to one on a Javon McKay tip-in with 2:16 left to play. The Golden Eagles nearly pulled ahead at the buzzer on a Dillard tip-in, but officials ruled that the basket had come after the clock expired.

With the loss, Tech remains fourth in the conference, a game-and-a-half behind Southeast Missouri and two games behind Tennessee State. The Golden Eagles will play two more league games this season, beginning with a home date with Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday.