COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech rebounded with passion Wednesday afternoon, dominating the boards at both ends of the floor, leading to many, many more scoring chances as the Golden Eagles buried East Tennessee State, 98-83, in a game that was played a day later than expected.
Senior forward Dennis Ogbe led the attack with a career-high 27 points, while junior Dwan Caldwell added 16, also a career-high. The pair was joined in double digits by teammates Ladon Carter with 13 and Ty Allen with 11.
Tech (4-4) owned a 45-26 advantage in rebounds, including a 17-5 edge on the offensive glass. Ogbe topped Tech with eight and Caldwell added seven. Point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas snapped down a career-high six rebounds to go with seven points and eight assists.
Ogbe had 19 in the first half in his way to finishing with 27. He was 11-for-14 from the field, including his only 3-point attempt, and drained 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
East Tennessee (2-5) actually shot at a higher percentage than Tech, draining 51 percent (26-for-51) from the field. The rebound edge allowed Tech a dozen more shots as the Golden Eagles hit 47.6 percent (30-for-63).
The Buccaneers had four players in double figures, topped by Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard with 20 points on 6-fo-11 shooting, including 3-for-3 from outside the arc. Rashawn Rembert scored 14, A.J. Merriweather added 13 and Hunter Harris netted 12.
Tech never trailed in the game, while ETSU was able to pull into a tie three times, the last at 13-13 with 14:30 to play in the first half. An 11-2 run by Tech, including 9-for-9 at the free throw line, lifted the Golden Eagles to a 24-15 lead five minutes later.
The Bucs clawed their way back to within two points twice after that, but Tech was able to regain control with a 10-point lead, 44-34, in the final two minutes. Tech led by six at the half, 45-39.
That margin quickly grew to double digits in the second half, thanks to Ty Allen. He knocked down a 3-pointer, then stole the a pass at midcourt and added a layup 16 seconds later for a 51-39 lead with 18:14 to play.
Tech maintained a comfortable lead the remainder of the game, with ETSU trimming it to nine one time, 78-69, with 5:54 left. The largest lead of the day was 18, as Tech went up 98-80 in the final 30 seconds before the Rembert banked in a long 3-pointer with 25 seconds left.
Tech had a chance to hit the 100-point mark, and the fans were encouraging it, but coach Steve Payne's team backed off and let the clock wind down.
It's now time to talk turkey, as the team will enjoy a Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, then begin preparations for a Saturday night visit by Utah Valley. Tipoff against the Wolverines in Eblen Center is at 7 p.m., as the Golden Eagles wrap up a four-game homestand.