COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – For the fourth time this season,
junior guard Zac
Swansey wore the hero's cape, hitting a spinning, 14-foot jump
shot from the right side with 2.7 seconds remaining to win the
This time, Swansey's shot propelled Tennessee Tech to a climactic, 61-59 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Tennessee State in the Eblen Center.
Earlier this season, Swansey's last-second dead-eye shooting gave the Golden Eagles buzzer-beater wins over Austin Peay and twice against Eastern Illinois.
The victory kept alive Tech's chances of finishing as high as
second in the OVC as the Golden Eagles improved to 15-11 overall
and 11-6 within the league. Tennessee State slipped to 8-8 in OVC
action and 11-15 overall.
The Tigers had one last-gasp chance with 1.8 seconds remaining, but the inbounds pass was fumbled out of bounds and Tech took over, escaping with the victory.
Kevin Murphy led Tech with a game-high 24 points and eight rebounds, while Jud Dillard added 13 points and five boards. Swansey finished with seven points and five assists while Alfred Jones added five points and seven rebounds, helping Tech build a 34-26 advantage on the glass.
Jacquan Nobles was nearly perfect for TSU, hitting his first five 3-pointers and finishing with a team-leading 17 points. Wil Peters scored 12, while Kenny Moore finished with nine.
Murphy's 3-pointer with 1:56 to play tied the contest at 57-57, and the Golden Eagles forced a Tiger turnover with 1:39 left. Murphy then used a screen by Matt Marseille and drained a 15-foot jumper with 1:20 remaining, lifting the home team into its first lead in nearly eight minutes, 59-57.
With 19 seconds to go, Moore drew a foul and stepped to the line for two free throws, hitting both to knot things again at 59-all. That set the stage for Swansey's heroics.
The first half saw each team string together an impressive
scoring run, but after 20 minutes not much had been decided with
TSU holding a 30-29 lead.
Tech had the early lead, going up by four points, 17-3, before the Tigers rode Jacquan Nobles' 3-point shooting to a 12-2 run. Wil Peters hits 3-pointer to start the run and Nobles connected on three consecutive from the arc, and with 6:59 to play the visitors were up, 25-19.
The six-point lead was Tennessee State's largest of the half, and didn't last long as Tech answered with a 10-0 run. Bassey Inameti scored the first four and Jud Dillard's 3-pointer at the 1:53 mark capped the stretch, putting the Golden Eagles up, 29-25.
Peters hit a jumper and Nobles knocked down one more bomb with five seconds left, and the Tigers were back in the lead as the halftime buzzer sounded.
The second half followed a similar pattern as Tech crept on top by four before TSU rallied to tie the game and move ahead. After the game was tied for the seventh time, Robert Covington's layup with 9:05 left nudged TSU on top, 47-46.
The Tigers built that advantage to as much as a five-point lead, 55-50, when Patrick Miller converted a three-point play with 4:37 left.
The Golden Eagles will spend the rest of the week keeping an eye on results around the league before returning to action Saturday with a non-conference contest. Tech hosts Gardner Webb at 7:30 p.m. in the second game of a doubleheader on Pack The House Night.
For tickets call (931-372-3940) or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center.