Eastern Kentucky University’s men’s basketball team closed a 12-point second half deficit to three or less three times, but couldn’t get over the hump in a 77-69 loss at Tennessee Tech University on Saturday at the Eblen Center.
The Colonels will be back at McBrayer Arena for their first home conference game of the season on Thursday. Tip-off against Southern Illinois Edwardsville is scheduled for 8 p.m.
The Golden Eagles (10-5, 2-0 OVC) started the second half with a 12-1 run to turn a 1-point lead into a 12 point margin, 39-27. Eastern missed its first six shots from the field to start the second half and made just 1-of-4 from the free throw line.
EKU (6-9, 0-2 OVC) didn’t fade, answering the call with a 13-5 outburst to get within two. JacQuess Hobbs and Dedric Boyd each hit 3-pointers, with the triple by Boyd making it 41-39 with more than 14 minutes to play.
A dunk by Nick Mayo with 9:21 on the clock made it a 3-point game, 51-48. TTU answered with two straight 3-pointers to go back in front by nine. However, Mayo scored Eastern’s next six points and Boyd knocked down a trey from the left corner with 5:19 to play to close within two, 59-57.
That was as close as it would get. Tech sealed the game by scoring 11 of the next 13 points.
Mayo finished the night with a team-best 26 points on 12-of-23 shooting from the field. DeAndre Dishman had 12 points, 11 rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Dujuanta Weaver contributed eight points and eight assists while turning the ball over only one time in 35 minutes.
Aleska Jugovic scored a game-high 28 points for Tennessee Tech. Courtney Alexander grabbed 15 rebounds. The Golden Eagles out-scored the Colonels 21-7 at the free throw line. Eastern made just 7-of-15 from the stripe (47 percent).
The two teams began the game by exchanging runs. TTU started with seven unanswered. EKU then scored 11 of the next 13 to take a 2-point lead, 11-9. An extended scoring drought allowed the Golden Eagles to answer with a 14-2 run. The Colonels scored just two points over a span of 9:35 and fell behind by 10, 23-13, with 4:26 left in the first half.
Eastern put together the final run, closing out the first stanza on a 13-4 spurt to get within one at the break. After going nearly 10 minutes with just two points, the Colonels scored 13 in the final 3:08 before intermission. The EKU run was aided by four Golden Eagle turnovers that the visitors turned into six points. Weaver got it started with a 3-pointer. Dishman scored eight of the 13 on two lay-ups and two dunks. His throw down with 43 seconds on the clock got his team within one, 27-26, at halftime.
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