Golden Eagles hold off Austin Peay at free-throw line, win 94-88
Murphy, Dillard combine to score 62 points
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech hit 16 consecutive free-throws in the final four minutes to stave off hard-charging Austin Peay on Thursday night, leaving the Dunn Center with a 94-88 victory.
Kevin Murphy and Jud Dillard combined for 62 points as Tech won its fourth game out of its last five and improved to 15-9 overall and 7-4 in the OVC. The Golden Eagles moved into a third-place tie with Tennessee State in the conference.
Murphy scored 33 points, his third-highest career total, and Dillard tied his career-high with 29 points and set a new career-high for free-throws, going 13-for-14 from the line. Dillard also grabbed nine rebounds while Murphy had seven boards and was 10-12 at the charity stripe. Murphy also added five three-pointers.
Murphy has now scored 30-plus points in three of the last four games. Thursday's game also marks the fifth time this season Murphy and Dillard have scored 20-plus points in the same game.
Tech built its lead as high as 10 with 5:38 in the second half, but had to hold off the Governors late as Austin Peay trimmed the lead down to two on a Melvin Baker dunk with 20 seconds left. From there, Dillard sank two free throws to build the lead back to four, then Austin Peay's Tyshwan Edmondson missed a three-pointer and Murphy grabbed the rebound and hit two free-throws himself to seal the win.
The Golden Eagles have now won four consecutive games over Austin Peay and three straight at the Dunn Center dating back to a victory in the first round of the OVC Tournament.
As a team, Tech shot 81 percent from the free-throw line, going 30-for-37, and upped that percentage to 94 percent in the second half at 29-for-31. TTU held a four-rebound advantage over the Govs and snatched 11 steals on the night.
Zach Bailey contributed 13 points and four steals while Dennis Ogbe added 10, his second double-figure game of the season. Terrell Barnes added nine rebounds and Zac Swansey led the team with four assists.
John Fraley led Austin Peay with 31 points and 17 rebounds, going 10-for-13 from the field and 11-for-12 at the free-throw line. Melvin Baker and Josh Terry also scored in double-figures, scoring 17 points and 10 points, respectively.
The game featured six lead changes and four ties, all of which came in the first half. Austin Peay jumped out to a 12-6 lead and held an advantage until the 8:52 mark when a Kevin Murphy layup gave Tech a 19-18 lead.
Austin Peay held a three-point lead at halftime, but Tech quickly took control early in the second period, getting three consecutive three-pointers from Murphy and a Liam McMorrow dunk to take a 44-38 advantage. The Golden Eagles didn't trail the rest of the way.
With the loss, Austin Peay fell to 9-16 overall and 6-6 in the OVC.
The Golden Eagles return to action on Saturday, traveling to Jacksonville State for a 4:30 p.m. tip-off.