Cold start too much to overcome as Golden Eagles fall to Gamecocks

Cold start too much to overcome as Golden Eagles fall to Gamecocks

By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team couldn't overcome a frigid first half on offense Thursday evening, falling at home to visiting Jacksonville State by a final score of 67-57.

The Golden Eagles (7-19, 3-10) found it tough sledding early on in the night, hitting just eight of their first 32 shots from the field and only one of their 11 attempted 3-pointers. The Gamecocks (18-8, 10-3) took advantage, hitting four triples and shooting just under 40 percent from the floor while creating 12 second-chance points.

Jax State earned a 29-15 lead on the glass in the first half, helping perpetuate its 34-19 lead at the break. The visitors used a 10-0 run in the second half to increase their lead to as much as 22 with 10 minutes to play.

Tech was having none of it, however, answering the Gamecocks with an 11-1 run of its own. Special Olympics Player of the Game, Hunter Vick, scored five of those points on his way to 13 for the night. He also corralled a season-high and team-best eight rebounds.

The Golden Eagles would trim the deficit to as little as eight with 49 second to play after Jr. Clay capped an 11-3 run by the Gamecocks with a monster 3-pointer from NBA range. It marked his eighth straight point scored in the run. He also assisted on the triple that started the run, making him responsible for all 11 points. The rookie finished with a team-high 17 points, five assists and five steals.

Making just his second career start, Garrett Golday looked strong while playing a season-high 27 minutes. He posted season-best marks of 11 points and six rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Tech was much more consistent in the second half, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from downtown. The Golden Eagles forced 17 turnovers by the Gamecocks during the contest, committing just 13 of their own.

The purple and gold will continue its four-game home stand Saturday evening, playing host to in-state and Ohio Valley Conference rival Belmont in a 7:30 p.m. CT affair.

Photo by Thomas Corhern