By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
RICHMOND, Ky. – A career night from senior Jeremiah Samarrippas and a late lead fell just short for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team as the Eastern Kentucky Colonels rallied at home to defeat the Golden Eagles in Richmond, 74-67.
Despite leading for most of the contest, the Tech squad was plagued late by foul trouble and a hot-shooting Glenn Cosey. Eastern Kentucky grabbed the lead with just over five minutes to play and did not relinquish it, despite the best efforts of the Golden Eagle players.
Point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas was nothing short of brilliant Thursday night, tying a career-high with 22 points while dishing out seven assists. He shot an incredible 8-of-11 from the field, including 3-of-5 from downtown, to lead all scorers.
The Tech defense played well most of the night, particularly when guarding Cosey, holding the senior to just two first-half points. Struggling to score from outside, the Colonels moved their game to the inside, scoring 36 points in the paint thanks in large part to foul trouble late for senior Dennis Ogbe and junior Dwan Caldwell.
With the game being called tight in the paint for the Golden Eagles, Ogbe wound up fouling out and Caldwell finished the contest with four fouls. Tech had no choice but to concentrate on perimeter defense and try to limit the paint touches for the Colonels.
Ogbe finished the game with 10 points and five rebounds, sinking all six of his free throw attempts. Junior Javon McKay also tallied 10 points, connecting on 4-of-7 shot attempts from the field. Guard Josiah Moore tacked on 12 points, hitting two 3-pointers while shooting 4-of-9 overall.
As a team, the Golden Eagles played particularly well on the offensive side of the ball, shooting 50 percent from the floor while hitting 46.7 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc. Tech also converted 16 of its 21 free throw attempts.
On the boards, Tech held the advantage as well, grabbing 29 overall and nine off the offensive glass. The Colonels were held to 20 rebounds in the contest.
Even with the Tech defense smothering him, Cosey started hitting shots in the second half, including three treys with men in his face. He finished with 20 points on the night, as did fellow Colonel Tarius Johnson.
The Golden Eagles will wrap up the 2014 regular season on Saturday with a 6:30 p.m. CT contest at Morehead State. The game marks the second half of a doubleheader with the Tech women's basketball squad which will play at 4:15 p.m.