Murphy scores 29, Dillard adds 22 to lead Tech
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech shot 51 percent from the field in the second period to overcome an eight-point halftime deficit, force overtime and beat Lipscomb 89-87 Saturday night at Eblen Center.
Tech hit nine free throws in the overtime period, building its lead to five with 47 seconds left on a Jud Dillard freebie. Lipscomb was forced to foul to extend the game and was never able to catch up, though the Bisons did cut the lead to one at 88-87 with five seconds left on a three-pointer by Deonte Alexander.
After TTU's Zach Bailey went 1-for-2 at the stripe with three seconds left, the clock expired before the Bisons could release a desperation heave.
With the win, the Golden Eagles improved to 5-4 on the season while Lipscomb fell to 6-4. The win was the third consecutive for Tech in the Eblen Center dating back to a Nov. 27 victory over Wilberforce. The Golden Eagles avenged a four-point loss to the Bison a season ago and now hold a 40-4 edge in the all-time series over Lipscomb.
Kevin Murphy led Tech in scoring for the fourth consecutive game, dropping in 29 while also grabbing seven rebounds and adding three steals. Murphy sank four three-pointers, extending his streak to 14 consecutive games with a made three.
With one block on the evening, Bassey Inameti moved into a tie with Damien Kinloch for eighth on TTU's all-time blocked shots list. Inameti also contributed five points and four rebounds. He needs just one more block to move into a tie for eighth Bobby Porter and seven more to tie Steve Taylor in sixth.
Jud Dillard added 22 points for the Golden Eagles and came up one rebound shy of a double-double with nine boards. Dillard was 10 of 13 from the free-throw line. Zac Swansey was the third Tech player to reach double-figures, contributing 11 points, six assists and three steals. Chase Dunn added nine points while Bassey Inameti and Zach Bailey each contributed five.
Robert Boyd paced Lipscomb with 23 points while Deonte Alexander added 21. Justin Glenn recorded a double-double for the Bisons, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Lipscomb held a nine-point lead with 16:15 left in the game, but the Golden Eagles outscored the Bisons 21-12 over the next seven minutes, finally tying the game at 57 on a Kevin Murphy three-pointer with 9:26 remaining. The Golden Eagles hit six of their eight three-pointers in the second half, going 6-for-13 from beyond the arc in the period.
Tech led by as many as eight with 6:55 left to play, but it was Lipscomb's turn to rally down the stretch. Robert Boyd hit a three-pointer to give the Bisons a 74-73 lead with 1:28 remaining, then Kevin Murphy drew a foul and sank two free throws to give the lead back to the Golden Eagles with 1:13 to play. After a missed three by the Bisons, a Zach Bailey layup extended TTU's lead to three.
Boyd delivered for Lipscomb, however, hitting another three with 12 seconds left to tie the game. Zac Swansey had a chance to give Tech the win on a long three-pointer as the clock wound down, but the shot rimmed out.
Turnovers were a key to the Golden Eagle victory as Tech forced Lipscomb to cough the ball up 19 times and outscored the Bisons 23-13 in points off turnovers. The Golden Eagles notched eight steals on the night.
Shooting percentages also told the story. After hitting just 36 percent of their shots in the first half, the Golden Eagles shot 51 percent in the second half. Lipscomb shot 49 percent for the game but went just 3-for-7 from the free-throw line in the second half. TTU shot 31 free throws, hitting 23, while Lipscomb shot just 15 and connected on nine.
The Golden Eagles take a week off for final exams before returning to action Saturday, Dec. 17 at Evansville. Tip-off is set for 1:05 p.m.