Golden Eagles outlast Colonels in Eblen Center overtime battle

Golden Eagles outlast Colonels in Eblen Center overtime battle

 By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information 

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Charles Jackson and point guard Torrance Rowe each recorded double-doubles, and five players scored in double figures as Tennessee Tech (10-11/2-6 OVC) pulled out a crowd-pleasing, 83-81 overtime victory over Eastern Kentucky Saturday night in Eblen Center.

Jackson, second in the nation in double-doubles, added another with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Rowe dished out a career-high 10 assists to go with 14 points in directing the victory.

Aleksa Jugovic also scored 14, including four clutch 3-pointers down the stretch, Javon McKay added 12 on perfect 5-for-5 shooting, and Dwan Caldwell finished with 11 points and eight rebounds.

While those Golden Eagles put bigger numbers onto the stat sheet, junior Josiah Moore penciled in the biggest number when his fade-away 12-foot jumper from the right baseline broke an 81-all tie and proved the winning points with just 7.2 seconds to play.

The Colonels (11-8/3-3 OVC) had one final attempt, but Corey Walden's 32-foot heave at the buzzer was off the mark. Walden was the leading scorer for the Colonels with 22 points while dishing out seven assists. Eric Stutz finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Timmy Knipp had 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Colonels grabbed control early, erasing a 4-0 Tech start with a 16-2 run to build a double-figure lead at 16-6 with 13:24 left in the first half. The lead was as large as 13 points, while Tech pulled within six, but at the halftime buzzer the visitors took an 11-point advantage into the dressing room at 41-30.

They did it by forcing 10 Golden Eagle turnovers with seven steals in the first 20 minutes, and shooting 47 percent (8-for-17) from long distance.

A 3-pointer by Rowe with 8:57 to play put The in the lead for the first time since early in the game, 59-57. The contest was tied at 64-64 with four minutes left, and Tech was on top by four after that, 68-64, with 2:50 to go.

A free throw by Mason Ramsey left Tech with a 72-70 lead with 20 seconds left, before Walden made both free tries with five seconds to play to knot it again. A runner by Rowe at the buzzer was too hard, bringing overtime.

In the extra session, Tech went up by three points on three occasions,  twice on baskets by Jackson and once on a jumper by Jugovic, and all three times on feeds from Rowe.

Walden pulled EKU within one after Tech's third three-point lead to make it 80-79. Moore made one free throw for an 81-79 Tech lead, and Stutz took a feed from Walden for a tying layup with 35 seconds left. That set the stage for Moore's game-winning jumper.

Tech shot a blistering 65.2 percent (15-for-23) in the second half and 66.7 percent (4-for-6) in overtime, finishing the game at 54.4 percent overall. The Golden Eagles also tied their season-high with 23 assists, and owned a 37-26 advantage in rebounds.

EKU finished the game hitting 50.9 percent (27-for-53), including 4-for-6 in the overtime period.

Next up for coach Steve Payne's squad is a pair of conference games down the road in Music City. On Thursday night, the Golden Eagles visit Tennessee State for a 7 p.m. contest, and on Saturday head over to Belmont for a 2 p.m. tipoff.