By Layne Weitzel, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Coming off a big win Thursday night over Austin Peay, Tennessee Tech had an opportunity to start a two-game conference winning streak with a victory tonight against Murray State.
Tech faltered late to the Racers, falling 72-63 on Saturday afternoon in the Hooper Eblen Center. Murray State moved to 2-4 in conference play, while the Golden Eagles dropped to 1-5.
"We're still figuring out how to win and how to finish games," said head coach Kim Rosamond. "We're still a very inconsistent basketball team. I thought Thursday night (against Austin Peay) was our best performance of the year for three and a half quarters. We dominated defensively. From the start today, we weren't playing with quite the same intensity."
Tech headed into halftime up two points and in a good spot statistically, shooting 46.2 percent and doubling up Murray State in rebounds 20-10.
But the Racers responded in the second half, outscoring Tech 38-27 and out-rebounding the Golden Eagles 24-12. Murray State also got six second-chance points from 10 offensive rebounds.
MacKenzie Coleman, earning another First National Bank of Tennessee-Special Olympics Player of the Game honor, got her second career double-double with 10 rebounds and a career-high 20 points with the help of another career-high two 3-pointers. She also blocked five shots and now has 30 through 17 games.
Although Tech held Racer senior standout Ke'Shunan James below her season averages in points and rebounds (she managed 16 points and three boards tonight), James' teammates stepped up. Fellow senior Bria Bethea led the Racers with 27 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, while senior Jasmine Borders followed with 14 points.
"Ke'Shunan James is an excellent player," said Rosamond. "She was going to get her points. We couldn't let the other kids beat us, and that's exactly what happened."
As a team, Tech tied a season-low 13 turnovers.