CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – Four different members of the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team put up double digit numbers in the scoring column Saturday night, but the effort proved to fall just short as the Redhawks of Southeast Missouri took down the Golden Eagles 74-62 in OVC action.
SEMO used a strong effort from senior forward Tyler Stone, who had a double-double at halftime, to ground the Golden Eagles. Stone finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds in the contest and was a key factor in the Redhawks 36-23 halftime lead.
Tech suffered through a tough shooting half in the first 20 minutes, converting just 25 percent of its attempts. TTU stepped out to a three-point advantage early in the first half, but the team's shooting struggles led to an eight-point run by the Redhawks. SEMO would not relinquish the lead the rest of the evening.
After walking into halftime down by 13, the Golden Eagles came ready to play in the second half, actually outscoring Southeast Missouri 39-38. The team shot a much improved 39.5 percent in the final 20 minute stretch, knocking the Redhawk lead down to as low as six with 9:11 to play.
Starting at the 12:30 mark in the second half, Tech put together a nifty little 9-0 run to knock the SEMO lead to six. After an offensive rebound by freshman forward Anthony Morse, junior forward Dennis Ogbe started the scoring streak for the Golden Eagles with a put-back layup. TTU forced a turnover and senior guard Jud Dillard knocked down a 3-pointer to decrease the lead to 10.
Following a missed jumper by Dillard, Morse reduced the advantage to eight with an acrobatic put-back tip-in over Tyler Stone. The Redhawks turned over the ball and Morse picked up another offensive board before dishing it to Dillard for quick jumper in the paint.
SEMO went on to hit 13 free throws down the stretch, adding a few highlight reel dunks and a dagger of a 3-pointer that pushed the lead back out to 14 with 5:35 to play.
Scoring just two points in the first half, Dillard came out firing on all cylinders after the break, scoring 14 second-half points to lead the Golden Eagles in scoring. A native of Munich, Germany, Ogbe wrapped up the night with 13 points and seven rebounds, including a impressive, buzzer-beating 3-pointer to finish the first half. Dillard also tallied seven boards on the evening.
Two more Golden Eagles recorded double-digits on the night, including point guards Lanerryl Johnson, a redshirt freshman out of Atlanta, Ga., and Jeremiah Samarrippas, a junior transfer from Southern Methodist. Both finished with 10 points apiece, with Samarrippas adding six assists despite struggling through an injury sustained in last week's game at SIU Edwardsville.
A freshman out of Lawrenceville, Ga., Anthony Morse put together a solid performance for Tech, recording five rebounds, including three on the offensive side of the glass. He also blocked two shots, which gives him 17 on the year, and scored four points as well.
Junior forward Matt Marseille scored nine points for the Golden Eagles, pacing the team in the first half. All nine of his points cam consecutively as the Brooklyn, N.Y. native strung the streak from the 18:19 mark to the 11:56 mark.
The Golden Eagles will continue OVC play on Thursday, Jan. 24 when they play host to the Murray State Racers on national television. With a 7 p.m. CST tip scheduled, the two teams will battle on ESPNU for the second straight year. Murray State has just one conference loss on the season while Tech will look for its first home conference victory of 2012-13.