NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dead even down to the final seconds. And
then some. And then some more.
For the fourth time this season Tennessee Tech was stretched to overtime, this time two overtime periods at Tennessee State, but with their four top post players fouled out the Golden Eagles ran out of muscle and fell to the Tigers 109-102 in the Gentry Center.
Tech had a desperation shot to win at the buzzer in regulation and also the first overtime, but missed on both. The Golden Eagles didn’t get the same chance in the second overtime as TSU cashed in on 20 trips to the free throw line in overtime.
Tech slipped to one game under .500 with a 13-14 overall record, including a 7-9 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Golden Eagles are 1-3 in overtime games. TSU, which has won three straight, improved to 7-20 overall and 4-11 in the league.
All across the stat sheet, the numbers were nearly identical during regulation, from shooting percentages, to rebounds, to assists, steals and turnovers.
It was a foul-marred contest throughout regulation, but few whistles blew in the first overtime. Then, in the second the Golden Eagles watched as TSU paraded to the charity stripe and one-by-one Tech players took a seat. Five different TTU players exited early with five fouls.
Elijah Muhammad led the Golden Eagles with a career-high 26 points and eight assists, one of five Tech players to put double digits on the scoreboard. Jud Dillard finished with 24, one shy of his career-best mark, and grabbed 10 rebounds, Frank Davis had 17, Alfred Jones scored 13 and Kevin Murphy added 10 points and six boards.
Jeremiah Crutcher and Robert Covington scored 24 each for TSU as the Tigers had six in double figures. Wil Peters hit 16, going 9-for-10 at the free throw line, Tashan Fredrick 13, Jacquan Nobles 12 and Martell Buie 11. Covington had 12 rebounds and Fredrick 10 as each managed a double-double.
Both teams missed a chance to win in regulation in the final seconds. TSU came up with a loose ball on the defensive end with 19 seconds remaining and called timeout, but the Tigers lost the handle with two seconds to go and gave the ball back to Tech.
At the other end, Frank Davis picked up a loose ball and fired up an 11-footer that beat the buzzer but hit the side of the rim.
Tech also had a chance to win in the first overtime, getting the ball with 12 seconds left and the score tied. An off-balance 3-pointer by Murphy missed the mark and Bailey’s rebound attempt banged around and came off, forcing a second overtime.
The Golden Eagles remain on the road for the rest of the week, playing Thursday night at Austin Peay and Saturday in a non-conference Bracket Buster contest at Appalachian State.