By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team (8-14, 4-3) couldn't overcome a blistering second half by Belmont (13-4, 7-0) Saturday morning, falling to the hot-shooting Bruins in the Curb Event Center, 82-70.
A seesaw affair for the first 30 minutes, the Bruins caught fire to pull away late, eventually wrapping up the second half shooting 60.9 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The two sides traded blow after blow in the opening half, fighting their way to a 35-35 tie at the break. Both sides finished an identical 13-for-28 from the field in the first period, with the Golden Eagles doing work from the charity stripe and in the paint.
Coming out of the break, the Golden Eagles hit first with sophomore Savonte Frazier draining a triple from the top of the arc. Belmont answered with a trey of its own and never looked back, taking advantage of a cold spell by the Tech offense from the field.
Tech kept itself in the contest for the first 10 minutes of the half behind strong free throw shooting and fantastic defense, forcing seven turnovers in that span and 13 for the half. The Bruin offense really began to pull away, however, launching a salvo of 3-pointers and posting a perfect showing at the charity stripe (13-of-13) in the final period while the Golden Eagles struggled to shoot just 24 percent from the floor.
The Golden Eagles shot well from both the free throw line and beyond the arc, hitting 24-of-29 for 82.8 percent at the line and 8-of-19 for 42.1 percent from deep. Senior Hakeem Rogers led the way offensively for Tech, playing 27 minutes and scoring a team-high 18 points despite leaving Thursday night's contest in the second half with a groin injury.
Following his 30-point outburst at Tennessee State, guard Aleksa Jugovic was noticeably smothered all day by the Bruin defense, being limited to 13 points. The junior managed a career-high five steals in the contest. Fellow junior Mason Ramsey put in work in the paint, scoring 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting and a 5-for-6 showing at the charity stripe.
The Golden Eagles will return home to Cookeville and the Hooper Eblen Center Thursday evening for a 6 p.m. CT tilt with Ohio Valley Conference East Division rival Morehead State.
Photo by Tony Marable