By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
MOREHEAD, Ky. – An offensive explosion, with junior Dwan Caldwell at the forefront, led the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team to an impressive 91-84 victory at Morehead State Saturday evening, defeating the Eagles in the regular season finale.
Leading by as many as 13 in the contest, the Golden Eagles held off a late charge by Morehead State to split the season series and clinch the fifth seed in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
The big man in the paint for the Tech squad, Caldwell (known as "Po" by his teammates) put together a remarkable night on the floor, scoring a career-high 29 points while also pulling down nine rebounds in 34 minutes of action. The center also broke the Golden Eagle single-game record for highest free throw percentage, knocking down 100 percent while going 15-of-15, beating the mark set by former Tech star Jud Dillard who went 14-of-14 last year.
Caldwell was far from the only Golden Eagle putting up numbers on the night. Senior Dennis Ogbe came alive in the second half, scoring 14 of his 18 points over the final 20 minutes of the game. Junior Jordan Johnson was a monster from beyond the 3-point arc, sinking four from downtown and finishing the contest with 14 points, just one shy of his career-high. Point guard Jeremiah Samarrippas was a floor general on the night, scoring 10 points and dishing out nine assists.
As a team, the Tech squad was brilliant from the floor, hitting on nearly 60 percent of its shots attempts and a solid 74 percent from the charity stripe.
The Golden Eagle held its own on defense as well holding double-double machine Chad Posthumus to just five points and four rebounds.
Key to the success of the night, Caldwell came up big at the free throw line, hitting a perfect six-of-six in the final 20 seconds. The free throws prevented Morehead State from making up any ground down the stretch, consistently maintaining a seven-point lead over the final minute. He made 11 of his 15 freebies in the second half as well, helping Tech convert on 20-of-26 in the final 20 minutes. Ogbe chipped in on that mark, going six-of-seven from the line in the span as well.
With the 31-game regular season finally under wraps, the Golden Eagles will now focus on the OVC tournament. Tech will face SIUE on Wednesday, March 5 in the first game of the tournament. Set for a 6 p.m. CT start, the game will be held at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, the site of every game of the tournament.