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December 12, 2009

Golden Eagles bounce Ball State in overtime thriller

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech was pushed into overtime for the second consecutive home game, and this time the Golden Eagles claimed a thrilling 86-81 victory over Ball State Saturday afternoon in Eblen Center.

A rematch from last year’s Bracket Buster game at Ball State which the Cardinals won in the final seconds, this time the game went to overtime when Ball State’s Jauwan Scaife canned a 3-pointer at the buzzer in regulation to tie things at 72-72.

Kevin Murphy led the Golden Eagles (4-6) with 18 points, one of four players to hit double digits for coach Mike Sutton’s squad. Jud Dillard tied his career-high with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting, while guards Frank Davis and Elijah Muhammad added 13 points and five assists each.

Ball State (3-4) also placed four in double digits, topped by Jarrod Jones with 18. He notched a double-double with a game-best 10 rebounds. Jauwan Scaife and Randy Davis scored 13 each and Malik Perry had 10.

The contest was tied nine times, and the lead changed hands five times.

Ball State held a seven-point lead a couple of times in the first half, and the Golden Eagles matched that in the second period with a seven-point lead four times, including 63-56 with 6:37 remaining.

Officials looked at replays at the end of each half. In the first, they ruled that Murphy’s 3-pointer came just after time had expired. In the second, they judged that Scaife’s shot had beaten the buzzer.

Dillard made one of two free throws with 19 seconds to play that put Tech on top, 72-69. The Cardinals looked to Davis for a 3-pointer but his shot banged off the iron and to Scaife on the left wing. He stepped backward across the 3-point line and nailed his shot as the buzzer sounded.

In overtime, after Jones put Ball State up with a dunk and Murphy tied the game with a jumper, Zach Bailey poured through a long 3-pointer that pushed Tech on top to stay.

A lay-up by Davis made it a six-point Golden Eagle lead, 83-77, with 40 seconds to play, and he followed with a free throw 15 seconds later to make it a seven-point lead.

Brawley Chisholm scored a basket at the buzzer for the final five-point margin.

Both teams found the range, hitting better than 50 percent from the field and from 3-point range, including 60 percent accuracy during the second half.

Tech was 33-for-62 for 53.2 percent overall, including 6-for-11 from long distance. Ball State went 27-for-53 for 50.9 percent overall and 4-for-8 from outside the arc.

The Golden Eagles nearly let it get away at the free throw line. While the Cardinals were hitting 72 percent of their charity tosses (23-for-32), Tech hit 58.3 percent (14-for-24).

Tech held a 36-30 advantage in rebounds, and the Golden Eagles had just 15 turnovers during the 45-minute fray. Ball State had just four steals.

The Golden Eagles spend the next week taking final exams, then return to the Eblen Center floor on Saturday, Dec. 19, to host Bryan College at 8 p.m. in the nightcap of a doubleheader.

Season tickets to Golden Eagle Basketball (which would make a marvelous Christmas gift) are on sale at the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center or by calling (931) 372-3940. Season and individual game tickets may also be purchased online at TTUsports.com.