By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, Ill. – The offense was flowing for the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team Saturday afternoon, as the Golden Eagles (10-16, 6-5) put forth one of their best efforts, top-to-bottom, for an 87-68 Ohio Valley Conference victory at Eastern Illinois (11-13, 3-8).
The two sides traded blows early, working to an 8-8 tie in the opening four minutes. From that point on, however, it was all Tennessee Tech. The visitors ran off eight straight points over the next three minutes, never allowing the Panthers within five the rest of the contest.
Tech took a decisive, 45-30 advantage into the halftime break, collecting outstanding efforts over the first 20 minutes of action from three members of the squad.
Junior sharpshooter Aleksa Jugovic lived up to his reputation early, hitting all five of his field goal attempts, including 2-for-2 from downtown, for a team-high 12 points. He also hauled in four boards and dished out five assists.
Senior Kajon Mack also drilled two triples early, tallying 11 points and four boards on 4-for-6 shooting in the first half. Redshirt freshman Micaiah Henry sank all four of his attempts from the field in the first period, posting eight points.
As a team, the first half saw a 7-for-10 showing from 3-point range, part of an 11-of-20 performance for the game. In addition to shooting 55.0 percent from deep, Tech shot 55.0 percent from the field and 76.9 percent from the charity stripe. The Golden Eagles also dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Panthers 37-26.
Jugovic finished the day with a game-high 24 points, leading the way with six assists and three steals. He also corralled six rebounds while shooting lights out, finishing 9-for-12 from the field and 4-for-7 from deep.
A transfer from Tulane, Mack completed play with 17 points and seven rebounds, connecting on seven out of 12 attempts from the field. Fellow transfer, from Campbell, forward Curtis Phillips Jr. posted a season-high 15 points while hitting 3-of-4 attempts from beyond the arc and snagging five boards.
For the second time in his career, Livingston, Tenn. native Mason Ramsey posted a double-double, hauling in a season-high 10 rebounds while also totaling 14 points. He played a career-high 36 minutes and finished 5-for-8 from the field.
The Golden Eagles will return to action Thursday evening, playing host to in-state rival Tennessee State at 6 p.m. CT.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information