January 27, 2011

Ho-hum...another last-second Swansey 3-pointer lifts Tech

Photo: Zac Swansey hits a layup, one of his few baskets from inside the arc. He had 22, 6-for-9 from long range, and scored the game-winner with eight seconds to play.

CHARLESTON, Ill, -- For the second time in a week, junior guard Zac Swansey's 3-pointer in the fading seconds was the game-winner as Tennessee Tech battled to a 77-74 Ohio Valley Conference road victory at Eastern Illinois Thursday night.

Swansey's bomb came with eight seconds to play, breaking a tie that the Golden Eagles had earned on Kevin Murphy's jumper with 1:04 to play. The game was tied seven times and the lead changed hands 12 times in the second half.

Tech's defense then forced a missed 3-point try by the Panthers with one second left to preserve the victory.

Tech (10-9/6-4 OVC) remains within two games of the lead in the OVC race as it faces its fourth straight road game Saturday at Southeast Missouri. The Panthers saw their record slip to 8-12 overall and 4-6 in conference play.

Swansey was 6-fpr-9 from long range and finished with 22 points, along with five assists. Murphy also finished with 22 points along with six rebounds and three assists, Tech also got double-digit scoring from senior Alfred Jones (photo below left) with 12 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Terrell Barnes led the Golden Eagles on the boards with seven rebounds. Zach Bailey added nine points and also dished out five helpers.

Jeremy Granger paced the Panthers with a solid double-double, netting 29 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in addition to five assists. Shaun Pratly and Alfonzo McKinnie each scored 13 in the losing effort.

Tech owned a large lead early in the game, and was on top 32-21 as the contest chugged toward halftime with less than two-and-a-half to play. But the panthers closed with an 11-2 run, including a half-court buzzer-beater by Granger, to make it a two-point game, 34-32, at the break.

From there, the contest gave the fans more than their money's worth in the final 20 minutes. Tech surged to a five-point lead early in the half, and the Golden Eagles led by as many as six in the final seven minutes.

Once again, EIU put together a run , outscoring Tech 11-3 over the next four minutes to move on top, 70-68 with 3:25 remaining. McKinnie scored six in the run and Granger's jumper in the paint capped the stretch.

Tech was down by three points, 72-69, following a pair of free tosses by Granger with 2:57 to play before Swansey's fifth trey of the contest at 2:20 tied things at 72-all.

Granger made a basket as EIU regained the lead and McKinnie stole the ball with 11:17 to play, but missed a shot as Barnes hustled back to block the attempt and the Golden Eagles came up with the rebound.

Murphy tied the game with 1:04 to play and Granger missed with 44 seconds remaining, setting the stage for Swansey's latest heroics. With the shot clock winding down, the junior – who beat Austin Peay last Thursday with a 3-pointer with two seconds left – calmly netted another with eight seconds to go.

Tech shot a blistering 64 percent (16-for-25) in the second half, finishing the game at 52.5 percent from the field (31-for-59). The Golden Eagles were 9-for-18 from long range and 6-for-9 at the free throw line.

EKU was equally sizzling after the intermission, hitting 57.1 percent (16-for-28) in the second half after making just 37.5 percent in the first half. The Panthers were 4-for-9 from long range and 14-for-20 at the charity stripe.

Tech held a narrow 34-32 edge in rebounds.

With the win, the Golden Eagles improved to 8-7 all-time in EIU's Lantz Gym after the Panthers had won at home each of the past two years against Tech.