CONWAY, Ark. - It took a total team effort as four Golden Eagles scored in double-figures and five finished with five or more rebounds as the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team topped Central Arkansas 71-67 in the first of four games for the Golden Eagles in the Hall of Fame Showcase.
Elijah Muhammad and Kevin Murphy scored 16 points each, and Frank Davis and Jud Dillard each had 10, and the Golden Eagles never trailed in the game after building an 11-2 lead to start the game. Terrell Barnes finished the contest with nine points and seven rebounds for Tech.
"I'm really proud of our guys for this win tonight," Tennessee Tech head coach Mike Sutton said. "It's a win on the road in a tough environment."
Murphy scored 11 of his 16 points in the first half, and finished with six rebounds, three assists and two steals. He converted both steals into fast-break dunks on the other end. Muhammad had six rebounds, four assists and a steal to go along with his 16 points.
"As a senior on this team it's one of my goals to help lead, and this team truly is a family," Muhammad said. "We showed that tonight. We really came together and battled."
Dillard, a freshman, scored 10 straight points in a crucial second-half stretch for the Golden Eagles to turn a 53-50 lead into a 63-57 advantage.
"I'm really proud of our freshmen for the way they performed tonight," Muhammad said. "They both work so hard everyday in practice, and they continued to work hard all night tonight."
Davis followed that by scoring five straight points, including a key three-pointer to maintain Tech's lead as UCA battled to within two points late in the second half.
Murphy and Muhammad helped Tech build its early lead. Murphy had two steals which led to fast break dunks in the first two and a half minutes, and Muhammad scored five points in that time as Tech controlled the game early.
But Tech would get into foul trouble, and the Bears would take advantage to keep themselves in the game in the first half. UCA shot 15-of-26 from the free throw line in the first half and went in to the break down just three, 36-33. The Bears finished the game 24-for-38 from the line while Tech hit 13-of-20 free throws.
The Golden Eagles finished the game shooting 27-of-57 (47.4) from the field and 4-of-12 (33.3) from three-point distance. Tech out-rebounded the Bears 39-35. Barnes led Tech with seven rebounds, while Murphy and Muhammad finished with six each, and Dillard and Alfred Jones added five apiece.
The game was the first of four games for the in the Hall of Fame Showcase for the Golden Eagles. Tech will also face Memphis (Nov. 20), Oakland (Nov. 23) and Kansas (Nov. 27). Tech's next action will be Nov. 19 at Lipscomb. The Bison's suffered two losses to Tech a season ago, but are picked to win the Atlantic Sun Conference this year.
Tech will be in Cookeville for the home opener against Oakland on Nov. 23. The Golden Grizzlies are coming off a 23-13 season in 2008-09. For season-ticket information contact the Golden Eagle ticket office at 372-3940 or visit ttusports.com.