Tennessee State hands Tech a pair of losses

After Thursday night’s doubleheader, the Golden Eagles saw their Ohio Valley Conference tournament pictures get a whole lot clearer.The Golden Eagle women suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Tigers of Tennessee State Thursday by a score of 67-57.

Tech struggled to find the basket, making only 53.3 percent of their free throws and 38 percent of their shots from the field.

TSU started the game on a 7-0 run and never looked back as Tech was unable to pull within two the rest of the contest.

State led by as many as 16 en route to the win.

The Golden Eagles trailed 37-26 at the half with only 12 rebounds compared to 24 by the Tigers.

Rebounding eventually proved to be the difference in the game as TSU dominated the boards, pulling down 41 rebounds to Tech’s 32.

For the Golden Eagles, senior Blair Bowens led with 13 points in her team-high 37 minutes on the floor.

Fellow senior Meagan Lyons was the only other Tech player to reach double-digits, scoring 11 with a pair of steals and three assists.

TSU sophomore Jasmine Smith owned a double-double after just the first half for Tennessee State with 11 rebounds and ten points.

Smith finished the game with 16 points and 19 rebounds while committing only one foul.

Tech wore pink shoestrings and the referees sported pink whistles in honor of breast cancer awareness, part of the Coaches versus Cancer program.

Bowens, Lyons, Allison Price, and Rachel Whittle will make their final appearances on Saturday as Tech hosts the Austin Peay State University Governors.

The tip-off for that game is slated for 7 p.m.

On the men’s side, a desperation 3-pointer clanked off the rim as the buzzer sounded Thursday night, giving TSU (9-17) a 77-74 win over the Golden Eagles.

Tech compiled a 15-0 run in the final six minutes to take the two-point lead with 2:11 left in the game.

However, TSU’s six rebounds in the final two minutes helped them take a six-point lead with 21 seconds remaining.

A three-pointer by junior Frank Davis cut the lead to two, but the Tigers hit key free throws in the final moments to keep the lead.

It was senior night at the Hoop and, in front of a crowd of 1,920, Daniel Northern scored 12 points in his final game at the Hooper Eblen Center.

“I hate to play my last game in this gym and lose,” Northern said.

Northern, the second-best rebounder in the conference this year, was held to only five boards. It was his lowest total since the last time Tech played Tennessee State.

The Tigers still managed to score 34 points in the paint, but were held scoreless in the field for the last six and a half minutes of the contest.

“We always wait till we’re down,” Northern said, “before we start playing hard.”

Another top performer for Tech was freshman Kevin Murphy with his game-high 19 points.

Junior Frank Davis went 5-9 from beyond the arc, finishing with 17 points. Davis also took opportunities away from TSU, getting three steals on the night.

Overall, Tech shot 40 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free throw line. The Golden Eagles are now 1-3 this year in games decided by five points or less.

Tech (11-16) will travel to Muncie, Indiana to take on Ball State (11-13) in an ESPN Bracket Buster game on Saturday.

Northern ended the night saying, “I just wish the rest of the players, you know, that they have a good career like I did here and make something out of it.”

While the women have wrapped up a spot in the OVC tourney, the men will need to defeat Jacksonville State on Feb. 28 to secure their place in the conference postseason.