Soooooooooo close. Eastern Kentucky nearly pulled off another major road upset for the conference, but alas it goes down in the loss column.
Tennessee Tech 79, Lipscomb 87
So TTU can put up points. Stopping their opponents from doing so is a bit more of a problem. The Golden Eagles trailed by 15 midway through the second half, but rallied to within two in the final four minutes, but could never take the lead. Fouls were a problem for both teams, as they combined for 70 free-throw attempts on the night.
Eastern Kentucky 68, VCU 71, OT
EKU only allowed five points in overtime, but can only manage two themselves, as they lose on the road against the Rams. Rob Brandenburg hit an early 3-pointer and Melvin Johnson had a critical free throw with 14.2 seconds to go to help VCU hold off the Colonels. EKU had the ball near the end of regulation with the score tied, but smothering defense on the perimeter didn’t let Glenn Cosey, who had a great second half, get loose. The Colonels stripped Treveon Graham as he drove to the lane for a potential game winner, and a Cosey half-court heave was off, leading to the extra frame.
Player of the Night in a Loss: Marcus Lewis, Eastern Kentucky. Lewis was one of three EKU players with at least 15 points in the loss, but Lewis earned his points on 6-6 shooting from the field. Lewis also had three steals, as EKU forced 15 VCU turnovers.
Unsung Hero: Dwan Caldwell, Tennessee Tech. TTU pulled down 42 rebounds in the loss (thanks in part to 39% shooting from the field,) including 13 by Caldwell. Seven of those were on the offensive glass, giving the Golden Eagles extra possessions.
Team Trending Upwards: Eastern Kentucky. Yes, it was a loss, but they proved they could play with a top-25 quality team, and by proxy, Belmont. That East Division race is really starting to look fun.
Team Trending Downwards: No one. TTU’s loss isn’t great, but it was on the road, so I’m not too overly concerned.