By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Purple Palooza was officially closed on a high note Tuesday evening, as the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team pulled away late to earn an 84-65 exhibition victory over Bryan College in the Eblen Center.
A seesaw affair early, the Golden Eagles were able to find new life late in the second half, while still getting 16 of the team's 17 players some game action prior to the official start of the 2019-20 campaign next week.
Tech, which features seven newcomers and a trio of redshirt freshmen, saw a healthy mix of production out of both the returners and newbies. It was one of the incoming freshmen that stole the show, however, as Murfreesboro native Keishawn Davidson erupted for a game-high 26 points while looking infallible from the floor for much of the contest.
The rookie point guard finished the night 9-of-12 from the field while sinking six of his seven tries from beyond the arc. Davidson, the Special Olympics Player of the Game also corralled a team-high eight rebounds while dishing out a pair of assists.
Fellow freshman Tujautae Williams, a native of Chicago, made his presence felt off the bench, scoring 11 points with seven rebounds and three steals in just under 20 minutes of action. Returning sophomores Jr. Clay and Hunter Vick also each contributed 11 points to the cause, with the two combining for 12 of the team's 25 assists. Vick dished out seven dimes and blocked three shots, both team-highs.
Senior Darius Allen, a transfer from Baylor, chipped in nine points, five helpers and three boards while roaming the floor for over 27 minutes and leading the team with a +23 plus/minus differential.
Trailing by as much as three points in the first minute of the second stanza, new Tech head coach John Pelphrey called a timeout that seemed to spark the Golden Eagles. The purple and gold went on to outscore Bryan College 42-27 in the second half, shooting a robust 58.6 percent from the field with a 4-for-10 showing from deep.
For the contest, the Golden Eagles finished 32-of-64 from the floor for a 50-percent showing while also hitting 11 of their 26 tries from downtown (42.3 percent). Tech out-rebounded the Lions 45-30, snaring 11 boards off the offensive glass. The team finished 9-of-11 from the charity stripe for good measure, an 81.8 percent clip.
Tech will officially kick off the John Pelphrey era with the team's season-opener at Western Kentucky Tuesday, Nov. 5. The trip to Bowling Green, Ky. will feature a 7:00 p.m. CT tip against the one-time Ohio Valley Conference rival Hilltoppers.
Season tickets for Tennessee Tech basketball are on sale now. Call (931) 372-3940, visit the Hooper Eblen Center ticket office, or log on to TTUSports.com to order yours today.
Photo by Thomas Corhern