By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team (7-13, 3-2) came up just short in its comeback bid against Ohio Valley Conference East Divisional foe Jacksonville State (12-8, 4-1) Saturday evening, falling to the Gamecocks by a final score of 74-59.
The Golden Eagles erased an 11-point deficit in the second half, chipping away at the Jax State advantage from the 14-minute mark to about the seven-minute plateau. Tech tied things up with a fastbreak layup from senior Hakeem Rogers, who finished with a team-high 15 points.
Knotted at 52, the Gamecocks started to inch away again, taking advantage of a sudden cold spell by the Golden Eagles. Jacksonville State kicked off a 10-1 run to go up by nine with just under three minutes to play.
Tech hit a couple of late triples to try and pull back to within breathing distance, but the visitors had an answer on the other end each time and hit their free throws down the stretch to pull away for the 15-point win.
Defensively, the Golden Eagles held the league's top 3-point shooting unit to just 27.3 percent from beyond the arc and kept Jacksonville State under its season field goal percentage average of .470.
The Gamecocks held a decisive advantage on the glass, out-rebounding the Cookeville squad 48-28, accounting for 18 second-chance points.
Rogers led the Golden Eagles with his 15 points and added in four rebounds while hitting three 3-pointers. Fellow senior Kajon Mack notched 13 points and seven assists in the contest, knocking down all six of his free throw attempts. Curtis Phillips Jr. also tallied double figures for Tech, posting 10 points and vie rebounds.
The Golden Eagles will continue OVC play next Thursday, Jan. 19, with a visit to East Division and in-state rival Tennessee State. Tip is set for 7 p.m. CT at the Gentry Center in Nashville.
Photo by Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information