By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
OXFORD, Ohio – A roller coaster ride from start to finish, the Tennessee Tech men's basketball couldn't quite find the offense late Thursday evening as Miami (Ohio) held on at its home court to defeat the Golden Eagles, 66-58.
Both sides came out on fire to open the contest (Tech's last non-conference tilt of the season), with the Golden Eagles firing at a 54.2 percent clip and the RedHawks answering at 51.9 percent. Despite the hot hands on both sides, the two teams found themselves knotted at 36 apiece at halftime after combining for a whopping 23 first-half turnovers.
Tech continued its torrid pace to start the second stanza, opening the period on a 12-6 run over the first eight minutes. Senior guard Hakeem Rogers tallied nine of those powerful points, with sophomore forward Courtney Alexander II collecting the other three.
The Golden Eagles offense hit a wall after that point, finishing the game with just 10 more points and rounding out a tough half that saw the team finish shooting just 20.7 percent from the field. The turnovers also continued on both sides, with 17 more tallying up for a grand total of 40 in the contest.
While Tech certainly took advantage of its trips to the charity stripe on the night, finishing 12-for-14 for an 85.7 percent showing, the visitors just couldn't get the whistle to blow in the second half, drawing just six fouls until the 3:52 mark in the contest.
After taking its final lead with 2:34 left on the scoreboard, Miami (Ohio) managed to make three trips to the free throw line, sinking all six of its attempts, which represented all but two of the team's final eight points.
On the night, RedHawk freshman Michael Weathers led all scorers with 19 points while Rogers and junior guard Aleksa Jugovic paced Tech with 14 apiece. Jugovic tallied a 4-for-8 showing from beyond the arc, representing his 12th straight game with a made 3-point attempt. He also added four rebounds and a team-best four assists.
Junior Mason Ramsey tallied nine points and a career-high four steals on the night, as well as five rebounds. Alexander contributed a team-high seven rebounds in a game that saw Tech outwork the RedHawks on the glass, 40-33.
The Golden Eagles will get a brief break from action before kicking off Ohio Valley Conference play Saturday, Dec. 31 with a trip to Edwardsville, Ill. for a 2:30 p.m. CT tilt with SIUE.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information