Tennessee Tech's men's basketball team entered Thursday's game against Morehead State having lost the last four contests against the Eagles. MSU tallied their most recent win over Tech Jan. 21 with a 81-74 victory in Morehead, Ky.
Thursday's matchup had the same results with Tennessee Tech taking a loss at home to Morehead State with a final score of 69-59.
"We have to play better, we have to take care of the ball, we got to rebound and score in the paint better. We didn't do any of these things. We took too many tough jump shots and it just was not a very good offensive performance from us," said head coach Steve Payne.
Tech's chances of winning the Ohio Valley Conference regular season title were lost with the game. Belmont captured the OVC title and the NO.1 seed in the conference tournament with Tennessee Tech's and Tennessee State's losses Thursday. The Golden Eagles dropped to 10-5 in the OVC.
"We just got to work a little harder and come out with a lot of energy. We need to focus on taking better shots and executing better on offence and playing with that fire on defence," said senior Torrance Rowe.
Entering the matchup Rowe lead the team in points and was third overall in the OVC with 17.8 points per game. Tonight was no exception for Rowe as he gave the Golden Eagles 15 points in the first half and six more in the second half, resulting in an above average game for Rowe with 21 points, but Tech only shot 34.7 percent in field goals. The Golden Eagles were 8-of-22 in three-pointers including two from Rowe.
This loss comes at a bad time for Tech as they try to enter next week’s OVC tournament with momentum and earn a high seed in the tournament.Head coach Steve Payne discussed how evenly matched the conference’s teams are and the Golden Eagles chances of winning the tournament.
"We can win it, but we gotta play. It's a great league with a lot of great teams and nobody is above anybody else. Every game is going to be tough and if you don't play well like tonight, you lose and that's how it goes, no matter who you play," said Payne.
Morehead State was able to secure a 37-31 lead at the half . The lead changed only two times with the score never being tied leaving the game with a still questionable ending. During the half, the Golden Eagles were able to obtain a decent 31.8% shooting from the field.
Tennessee Tech's defense gave the team a fighting chance in the second half, but it still was not enough as Morehead State won the fight in rebounds and turnovers resulting in the tonight's loss.
Morehead State had the advantage on the boards 41-to-38 including a 16-to-9 advantage in offensive rebounds. Tech turned the ball over 16 times compared to MSU’s nine.
"I thought after halftime we really fought defensively and gave ourselves a chance, but our offense never let us win the game," said Payne.
The loss gave the team its first loss at the Eblen Center this season making its record 13-1 at home.
The men's next game will be at home Saturday when they take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.