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December 30, 2008

Louisiana-Monroe extracts revenge with 85-78 win over Golden Eagles

MONROE, La. - Despite a career-high 27 points from junior guard Will Barnes, the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles came up short on the road at Louisiana-Monroe Monday night, falling to the Warhawks 85-78 in front of 702 fans in Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

Trailing by just two at halftime, 36-34, the Golden Eagles couldn't slow the hosts who shot 50 percent in the second period and finished with three players in double digits. Center Rudy Turner had 21 points, eight rebounds and six blocked shots and shot 8-for-11 from the field. Lawrence Gilbert was 8-for-10 and added 22 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Dynile Forbes scored 18 points, going 8-for-10 from the free throw line.

For Tech, in addition to Barnes' 27 points, junior DJ Lindsay scored 13 while senior Daniel Northern netted 10 and topped Tech with seven rebounds. Barnes was 9-for-14 from the field including 3-for-4 from long range, and hit 6-of-9 from the free throw line in posting Tech's highest game of the season.

Louisiana-Monroe built as much as a 13-point lead in the first half, going on top 27-14 on a 3-pointer by Gilbert at the 9:03 mark. The Golden Eagles battled back to tie the game at 32-all with an 18-4 run. The stretch was started by back-to-back 3-pointers by Barnes and capped by a Northern layup at the 1:35 mark.

Gilbert's basket with 39 seconds before the break broke a 34-34 tie and sent the home team to the intermission with a two-point edge.

A tip-in by Northern with 18:59 to play gave the Golden Eagles a 38-37 lead, the first Tech lead since opening the game with a layup by Frank Davis for a 2-0 lead. Just 14 seconds later, Turner's basket pushed ULM back on top to stay.

The Warhawks stretched their lead to 14 points, 55-41, for the largest difference in the contest as Kenneth Avarette hit a jumper with 12:54 to play.

Once again, Tech responded and pieced together a 12-2 run to close the margin to four points, 57-53, with 10:14 to play. Tech got to within three points, 75-72, on a pair of free throws by LIndsay with 1:23 remaining, but the Warhawks made all 10 free throws down the stretch to clinch the win.

For ULM (4-8), the win earned the Warhawks a measure of revenge. Tech had downed ULM 108-70 in Eblen Center a month ago.

The Golden Eagles (6-5) saw their record slip to 6-5 as they prepare to return to Ohio Valley Conference play with a couple of home games beginning this weekend. On Saturday, Tech entertains Southeast Missouri at 7:30 p.m., and on Monday Eastern Illinois visits Eblen Center.

The Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center will be open regular business hours Friday, Jan. 2, and will open Saturday at 4:30 p.m., prior to the women's game against SEMO which begins at 5:30 p.m.