Tech subdues Skyhawks, 70-61, to tighten OVC standings

Tech subdues Skyhawks, 70-61, to tighten OVC standings

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech helped tighten the Ohio Valley Conference basketball race Saturday night with a 70-61 victory over UT Martin in Eblen Center, giving the Golden Eagles a season sweep over the defending league champions.

With the victory, Tech (13-13/7-8 OVC) is one of four teams in a tight battle for fourth place in the middle of the OVC standings. The Golden Eagles are one game out of fourth in the win column with three league games remaining. UT Martin saw its record fall to 4-21/1-14 OVC.

Frank Davis led all scorers with 19 points, hitting 4-for-8 from long distance. Alfred Jones added 13 points and nine rebounds while Elijah Muhammad scored 11 and grabbed six boards. Jud Dillard added eight points and six rebounds. Sophomore Kevin Murphy finished with nine points, snapping a streak of 18 consecutive games in double figures.

Bassey Inameti (in photo) blocked a career-high six shots in the contest.

Benzor Simmons topped UTM with 14 points while Terrance Coleman had 13 points and nine rebounds. Ron Spencer finished with nine points and eight rebounds and MJ Brown also scored nine.

The game saw the score tied three times in the first half before a 12-0 Golden Eagle run put Tech on top to stay. Simmons hit a layup and followed with one free throw with 8:40 to play in the opening period and the Skyhawks were up, 20-19.

Davis drained a 3-pointer to nudge Tech out front, 21-19, and the Golden Eagles never trailed after that. They built a lead as large as 11 in tn the next three minutes, before heading to the half up seven, 34-27.

The second half saw 37 fouls called between the two teams and 58 combined free throws, but Tech maintained its advantage despite scoring just one basket in the final five minutes. The Golden Eagles were 12-for-15 at the free throw line during that stretch.

After pulling ahead by 14, Tech saw UTM rally to creep within five points, 54-49, when Coleman made two free throws with 5:40 remaining. Murphy’s jumper started a 6-0 TTU run and the Golden Eagles regained a double-digit lead.

UT Martin whittled it down to a seven-point game with 46 seconds left when Spencer scored a layup to make it 66-59, but four free throws kept the Skyhawks at bay.

Tech keeps busy with a game Monday at Tennessee State at 7:30 p.m., the team’s third game in a five-day span. Following that, the Golden Eagles play a game Thursday at Austin Peay (rescheduled from Feb. 9), then visit Appalachian State Saturday night for a Bracket Buster contest at 6 p.m. CST.

The team has one home game remaining, hosting Jacksonville State on Saturday, Feb. 27, in the regular season finale. For tickets, call (931) 372-3940 or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center.