Late surge falls short as Tech falls to Lipscomb in in-state battle, 87-79
By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information Coordinator
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After rallying back from double-digit deficits twice, it seemed destined that the Tennessee Tech men's basketball team would pull off its impressive comeback bid, but Lipscomb prevailed, 87-79, with late free throws down the stretch.
It was a tough pill to swallow for the Golden Eagles, who fought from as much as 15 points down halfway through the second half to bring the score within two points with just 3:30 to play. Lipscomb used a late 10-2 run to put things away.
Once again, the Tech offense came from all over the bench and court as 11 different Golden Eagle players scored on the night. Redshirt sophomore Josiah Moore led Tech, scoring 12 points. Senior forward Dennis Ogbe and junior forward Ladon Carter each added double-figure games, recording 10 points apiece.
JUCO transfer Dwan Caldwell just missed out on a double-double, grabbing 13 rebounds and scoring nine points. Junior guard Ty Allen also contributed nine points before fouling out with just over 10 seconds to play.
Junior forward Martin Smith led all scorers in the affair, scoring 24 points on an impressive night from the charity stripe. Smith connected on 12-of-14 freebies. His twin brother, Malcolm Smith finished with 11 points, all in the second half, and J.C. Hampton and Josh Williams chipped in 22 and 19 points, respectively.
Making the big play just when they needed it most, Tech used a steal on an inbounds pass with 4:11 in the second stanza from Ladon Carter to push the issue. Carter hit senior Jeremiah Samarrippas for a 3-pointer to cut the lead to four. Carter then blocked a shot on the next possession and Samarrippas found Moore in transition to set up a fast break play. Moore was fouled and hit the subsequent free throws to pull the score to 77-75 in favor of the Bisons.
Lipscomb had a field day from the free throw line, sinking 29-of-39 attempts. Even more crucial to the final outcome was the hot hand of the Bisons in the second half as the team combined to shoot 70 percent from behind the arc, connecting on 7-of-10 tries.
The Golden Eagles once again won the battle on the glass, out-rebounding Lipscomb 42-35, including an staggering 16-8 advantage on the offensive boards. Tech struggled to finish, however, shooting just 39.3 percent from the field.
Tech will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 7 as it makes the trip east to Knoxville for an in-state tilt with the Tennessee Volunteers. Tip is set for an 11 a.m. CT start and the game can viewed live online on ESPN3 or on television on the Fox Sports Network.