By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
OREM, Utah – A fantastic second half couldn't quite make up for a sluggish first as the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team fell to Utah Valley Saturday evening, 75-66.
Junior Dwan Caldwell paced the Tech squad with 17 points while Dennis Ogbe and Jeremiah Samarrippas each added 13. Ogbe also led the Golden Eagles with seven rebounds. Ty Allen added 10 points on the night as well.
Holton Hunsaker, son of Utah Valley head coach Dick Hunsaker, led all scorers with 22 points, going an impressive 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. Mitch Bruneel and Hayes Garrity chipped in 16 and 13 points, respectively.
The Golden Eagles struggled to find their rhythm in the first stanza, turning the ball over 12 times while scoring just 25 points. The Wolverines also turned the ball over 12 times, but scored 41 points thanks to 18 off Tech turnovers and 12 more on free throws.
With the free throw advantage going to Utah Valley (14 attempts to TTU's 6 in the first half), the Wolverines were able to enjoy a 41-25 haltime lead.
Tech fought back hard over the final 20 minutes, forcing eight more Utah Valley turnovers while only giving the ball away twice. In the end, struggles at the free throw line and a 16-point first-half deficit proved to be just too much for the Golden Eagles to rally for a road win.
The Golden Eagles squad will open up Ohio Valley Conference play on Thursday, Jan. 2 when the team travels to Nashville for a 7 p.m. CT tilt with in-state rival Tennessee State.