COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech simply couldn't overcome 25 percent shooting Thursday night, and despite putting up a valiant fight, left Eblen Center on the short end of a 47-39 Ohio Valley Conference contest with Murray State.
The Racers (15-4/6-1 OVC) didn't shoot much better, hitting 34 percent from the field and just 1-for-18 from long range. But a late 16-2 run lifted MSU into a lead they nursed to the finish.
Tech (7-12/1-6 OVC) forced 23 MSU turnovers with 12 steals, but wound up hitting just 3-for-17 from long range (17.6 percent) and 25.5 percent (13-for-51) for the game.
Isaiah Canaan led Murray State with 15 points, struggling with just 5-for-15 shooting efficiency. Ed Daniel, who spent most of the first half on the bench with two quick fouls, earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Stacy Wilson added nine points and six rebounds, and Brandon Garrett finished with six points and seven rebounds as the Racers held a 42-35 advantage on the glass.
Jud Dillard topped Tech with 12 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Dennis Ogbe (in photo) chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds. Matt Marseille grabbed team-high seven boards while finished with five rebounds and five steals, despite being saddled with four fouls. Ammanuel Diressa fouled out with six points, hitting 2-for-3 from long distance.
On a night when the Golden Eagles needed a solid showing, they didn't help their own cause in the first few minutes by missing their first six shots as the Racers quietly crept out to an 8-0 lead.
Tech fought its way back into the game, however, and when Ogbe slashed through the lane, took a pass from Lanerryl Johnson and made a floater, the Golden Eagles had erased the deficit and tied the contest at 13-13.
And a minute later, when Ogbe scored on a putback, the home team had its first lead of the night at 17-15. Two minutes later, Ogbe jumped over a defender for a slam dunk, and Tech was up 20-17.
From that point on, things were tight..until MSU took control in the final minutes.
Tech's 32-27 lead was erased midway in the second half as the Racers went on a 16-2 run. During the 10-minute stretch, Tech had five turnovers and made just one of 12 shots. Wilson and Daniel each had four in the run.
When Dillard knocked dow a 3-pointer with 4:07 remaining, the Golden Eagles faced a 43-37 deficit.
Tech forced four missed shots and two turnovers on Murray State's next six possessions, but the Golden Eagles couldn't capitalize. Tech missed a couple of shots and had another turnover before Dillards' two free throws with 1:17 left made it a 43-49 contest.
The Racers connected on four of the next five free throws to clinch the win.
The Golden Eagles wrap up the week with another home contest, hosting rival Austin Peay Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader. The women's game starts the night's action at 5:30 p.m.
The game is Basketball Legends Night, with several former men's and women's players returning for the festivities. It's also Title IX Celebration, along with a SAAC collection donations for the Hoops for Heroes program to send wounded warriors to the OVC Tournament in Nashville.
Tickets are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center, online at TTUsports.com, or by calling (931) 372-3940.