Basketball team splits home games, men win exhibition against Piedmont College

OFF THE GLASS – Aleksa Jugovic goes for a layup during Tech's exhibition game against Piedmont College. Photo: Shea Haile

Homecoming weekend concluded Saturday with a Tennessee Tech basketball double header. The Tech men’s basketball team was featured in the second game when the Golden Eagles hosted the Lions of Piedmont College for the team’s first and only exhibition matchup.

The Lions showed early that they were not intimidated by the Golden Eagles or the 1,500-plus fans in attendance at the Hooper Eblen Center. Piedmont was able to tie the game 10-10 early in the first half, but Tech’s 21-9 run gave the Golden Eagles complete control of the game.

Piedmont was able to come within 10 points of Tech again at the 5:58 mark of the first half, but the Golden Eagles regained its double-digit lead again before halftime.

Tech entered halftime with a 15-point lead, 51-36. Hakeem Rogers was the leading scorer for the Golden Eagles after the first half. Rogers had 11 points in and was 3-for-4 in three-pointers.

The second half was one-sided. Tech began the half with a 22-7 run which resulted in a 30-point lead.

The Golden Eagles grabbed its largest lead of the night, a 41-point advantage, with 2:51 remaining in the game. Tech had one of its most impressive offensive performances in recent years during the 110-72 win over Piedmont.

The last time the Golden Eagles scored 100 points in a game was Dec. 19, 2013 against Hillsdale College (Oklahoma) when the team scored 112 points.

“I’ll take 110 every night,” said head coach Steve Payne. “This a good offensive team. We are going to be fun to watch. We pass the ball. We shoot it good. We play up-tempo. We got a lot of guys who are unselfish and willing to do the little things.”

Payne expressed his discontent with the team’s defensive performance against the Lions. Piedmont was able to connect on 50 percent of its field goals going 22-of-44.

“I was not very happy with our defense,” said Payne. “I thought defensively we took a real step backwards tonight. We’ll get that fixed in practice tomorrow and get back to work.”

Payne went on to say the team has been good defensively in the first two scrimmages against Division I opponents.

Tech was led on the offensive side of the ball by sophomore Aleksa Jugovic. The sophomore had 20 points during the game including four three-pointers.

“Me, personally, and the other guys have been working a lot on our individual game and using our progress so that we can help our team in the key moments,” said Jugovic. “We are all happy to finally get a chance to do that in front of our home crowd.”

The Golden Eagles will be at New Mexico State Nov. 18. The game is its second in Air Force Classic. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Central Standard Time.

The Tech women’s basketball team began the action inside the Eblen Center Saturday with a matchup against the Arkansas State University Red Wolves.

The Golden Eagles were in immediate trouble as the Red Wolves took a 14-5 advantage in the first quarter.

The Red Wolves continued to find success during the first period of play. A-State held Tech to 10 points during the quarter and only allowed the Golden Eagles to connect on three of its 15 field goals.

The Red Wolves were efficient from beyond the arch from the beginning going 4-for-5 from three-point land in the first quarter.

A-State’s dominance continued in the second quarter, and the Golden Eagles’ deficit increased to 20 points during the period.

The Red Wolves had all of the momentum at halftime with a 46-26 lead. Tech was shooting only 22.6 percent from the floor, while A-State was shooting above 50 percent.

The third quarter was more of the same from both teams. The Red Wolves had a 16-2 run to open the quarter, and during that stretch, the Golden Eagles turned the ball over six times. The run increased Tech’s deficit to 35 points.

A-State continued its accurate shooting in the third and fourth quarters going 3-of-9 in three pointers. The Red Wolves ended the night going 9-of-23 from beyond the arc. Tech’s inability to defend the three proved to be its demise in the 77-55 loss.

“We gave up too many threes,” said head coach Jim Davis. “We have got to contest threes and defend the threes better. They made nine threes; that is 27 points in itself and we lost by 22. We just got to get out there on their toes.”

“We got a simple rule. I do not care how fast you are or how slow you are, the rule is ‘Be there when the ball gets there.’ Bottom line.”

Takisha Jordan and Samaria Howard led Tech in scoring with 12 points each. Alliyah Smith ended the game with six points and nine rebounds.

“I think we just need to work harder on defense,” said Smith. “Our offense is good. Our rebounding is good. “

The Golden Eagles will be at the Eblen Center Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. to face off against the Georgia State Panthers.