By Thomas Corhern, TTU Sports Information
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – SIUE needed a win to keep its Ohio Valley Conference tournament hopes alive and the Cougars played like it.
Tennessee Tech had a tough fourth quarter as the homestanding Cougars rallied from a 16-point deficit in the third quarter and held on to beat the Golden Eagles 63-61 on Thursday night at the Vadalabene Center.
With the loss, Tech drops to 19-9, 11-6 in the OVC, while SIUE improves to 13-15, 8-9 in league play.
In the final 10 minutes alone, Tech shot 21.4 percent from the floor, 16.7 percent from 3-point range and 25 percent from the line. Turnovers also plagued the Golden Eagles as they gave up the ball 18 times, leading to 20 points.
But it was also a game that saw 12 lead changes and 11 ties as neither team, at least early on, was finding much of a foothold. That changed in the final four minutes of the second half as Tech ended the second quarter with a 15-0 run, outscoring the Cougars 20-10 in the period to take a 37-27 lead at the intermission.
Tech stretched the lead out to open the third with another 8-2 run. Lacy Cantrell went on to score 10 of her 17 points (and 10 of Tech's 16 points) on 3-of-3 shooting and 4-for-4 at the line in the third.
Then the Cougars came back. In the second half, even with that early run, SIUE outscored Tech 36-24. And a game that had become one-sided was suddenly back to the back-and-forth contest that it had once been.
With 2:19 remaining, Christen King knotted the game with the first of two free-throws, then knocked down the second to make it a 59-58 contest. After Cantrell couldn't get a layup to fall, SIUE's Allie Trockler knocked down a layup to make it 61-58 with 1:18 remaining.
Jordan Brock came down to the other end and drained a 3-pointer, tying the game at 61. Just 20 seconds later at 0:47 remaining, King broke through for a layup to make it 63-61. Neither team scored any more points.
Brock missed a pair of free throws, then Sydney Bauman and Nakiah Bell both missed their charity stripe attempts, leaving 11 seconds on the clock. Abby Buckner tried to get a go-ahead 3-pointer off with four seconds left, and the shot bounced off with Cantrell collecting the offensive ball. The teams tied up the ball, with Tech emerging with the possession.
Alexander passed it in to Buckner, who just couldn't get a good shot off under pressure from the Cougars and the rebound fell dead on the floor as time expired, SIUE celebrating the victory at the top of the key.
Cantrell led Tech with 17 points, while Brock had 12 points and Kesha Brady added 10. Alexander led the Golden Eagles on the boards with 11. For SIUE, King led all scorers with 23 points, while Bauman had 17. Troeckler had 11 rebounds.
The Golden Eagles close out the regular season on Saturday as they travel to Eastern Illinois. Tipoff from Lantz Arena is scheduled for 1 p.m.