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Golden Eagles turn halftime deficit upside down, win in overtime at High Point

Tech takes 62-57 victory

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Thanksgiving holiday got off to a rollicking start for Tennessee Tech Tuesday as the Golden Eagles overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to rally past homestanding High Point in overtime, 62-57.

Jud Dillard notched a double-double for the second consecutive game, scoring 18 points, 16 of which came after halftime, to go with 15 rebounds to lead the Golden Eagle effort. Kevin Murphy, who was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half, was also big down the stretch for Tech, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds.

With the win, Tech improved to 2-2 on the season and won its first game against a Division I opponent this season. The victory was also the first on the road for the Golden Eagles this season and the first of head coach Steve Payne's tenure.

After Shay Shine hit a three-pointer to give High Point a 55-54 lead early in the overtime period, Dillard sank a jump shot to give Tech a one-point lead and the Golden Eagles forced a Panther turnover on the ensuing possession. Murphy gave the Golden Eagles a three-point lead with a layup with 2:34 remaining, and Dillard sank two free throws with 51 seconds remaining to make the game a two-possession affair.

High Point would never regain its footing as Tech's defense held strong and Murphy sank two more free throws with 17 seconds remaining to give the Golden Eagles a five-point lead. High Point struggled to get a shot off on its ensuing possession, missing a layup as the clock ran down.

The field-goal percentages told the story of the evening for the Golden Eagles. Tech shot a dismal 29 percent from the field in the first half but recovered to shoot 50 percent in the second half. The Golden Eagles went 3-for-5 from the field in overtime. Tech held High Point to 32 percent from the field in the second half.

Rebounding kept the Golden Eagles in the game in the first half – they created 10 second-chance opportunities – and Tech finished with a 44-36 edge on the glass. In addition to 15 boards from Dillard and eight from Murphy, the Golden Eagles also got eight from Terrell Barnes.

Barnes, who started his first game this season after missing the first two contests with a foot injury, had a strong night, scoring five points and distributing three assists to go with his rebounding production.

Tech also got eight points and three steals from Zac Swansey while Liam McMorrow contributed six points and five rebounds. Chase Dunn came off the bench to score five points.

Dillard sparked the Golden Eagles' second-half rally, scoring the first six points of the period on two jump shots and two free throws to cut the lead to 27-25. High Point extended its advantage once again, however, pulling ahead by eight at 37-29 on a Branimir Mikulic three-pointer. The Panthers held a nine-point advantage as late as the eight-minute mark.

Trailing 49-41 with 5:46 remaining, Tech scored three consecutive baskets, capped by a three-pointer from Murphy, that cut the lead to 49-48 with 4:06 left. After several defensive stops by both teams, Murphy hit two free throws with 2:32 left to give Tech the lead at 50-49.

High Point would pull ahead again, however, on a Corey Law three-point play with 1:37 left to take a 52-50 lead, but Murphy rescued the Golden Eagles, tying the game at 52 with 22 seconds remaining on a jumper. High Point's Xavier Martin missed a desperation jumper as time expired to send the game to overtime.

The Golden Eagles return to action on Friday, hosting Lamar at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale at the Eblen Center box office or by calling (931) 372-3940.