By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Curtis Phillips Jr. started out the night cold, as he went 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-3 from beyond the arc.
His numbers certainly didn't stay that way. The senior heated up, knocking down seven of his next 11 field goals and three of his next four 3-pointers as he led the way with 21 points, leading the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team to an 82-68 win over Kennesaw State in a non-conference contest on Saturday.
For Phillips, the Special Olympics Player of the Game, it was his first 20-point game in his Tech career and his third overall.
Tech (3-1) also used a 16-2 scoring run late in the first half, spanning nearly four minutes as the Golden Eagles went from a 24-22 deficit to a 35-26 advantage. The Owls were able to chip away and make it a three-point, 36-33 game at the intermission in favor of Tech.
As the second half opened, Tech went on a 22-6 run from the 16:58 mark until 8:33 for a 67-45 lead. The Golden Eagles led by as many as 23 points with 4:21 remaining before the Owls were able to close the gap back down to the final margin of 14.
The Golden Eagles were also able to convert turnovers into points, picking up 26 points on 16 takeaways.
In addition to Phillips' tally, four other Tech players scored in double figures as Aleksa Jugovic had 14, Mason Ramsey had 12, and Courtney Alexander II and Kajon Mack each had 10. Alexander also completed a double-double, pulling down 10 boards, for the second straight game and third time in his career.
From the field, the Golden Eagles shot a solid 48.4 percent, knocking down 31 of their 64 tries from the field, including 8-for-19 from long range. From the charity stripe, Tech was 12-for-21, including 4-for-6 from Phillips and a perfect 4-for-4 from Alexander. Jugovic and Mack were a combined 2-for-9 at the line.
Distribution-wise, Tech was fluid, dishing out 20 assists on 31 field goals. Phillips and Mack each had five assists, while Jugovic had four.
For Kennesaw State (1-3), the Owls had four double-figure scorers as James Scott had 19 points, with Jordan Jones adding 15, Tyler Hooker 11 and Kosta Jankovic 10.
Tech returns to action on Tuesday as it heads to Albuquerque, N.M., as the Golden Eagles face New Mexico in the Emerald Coast Classic. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information