Tennessee Tech took a lead in the final three minutes, but a late run cost them at Tulane. Our initial thoughts:
The Final Minute: Up three possessions, Tulane got the ball with just over a minute to go. TTU chose not to foul, which while a bit odd, worked. Tech got the stop, and a rebound with about :30 to go. TTU didn’t call timeout…and subsequently took about 20 seconds to get off any kind of shot, again, in a two possession game. Following a missed FT, Tulane gets the ball back with about :10 to go, and again, no foul. Tulane runs the clock out. Tennessee Tech played a very good game against a solid Tulane squad. But their management of a close game down the stretch left something to be desired.
The Beasts Inside: Charles Jackson led TTU with 16 points, Dwan Caldwell added 15 (off the bench, at that) in a strong showing offensively for the Golden Eagles frontcourt. They combined for 14-22 shooting (63.6%) from the field, and Jackson had a game-high 10 rebounds. The frontcourt is the strength of this team — hands down.
Three-point woes: If it were the 1970’s, I’m confident this Tennessee Tech team would dominate. But, we live in an age with the three-point arc, and again Tech struggled with the long ball, shooting 5-18 from deep, although they did hit two key three’s, including the final one with gave TTU their first second-half lead.
Backcourt struggles defensively: Tulane shot the ball well, especially in the first half, thanks in part to a trio of guards, but it also exposed what I think is a significant problem for TTU — their defense in the backcourt. Javon McKay, Shirmane Thomas and Torrance Rowe didn’t have a single steal between them, and weren’t able to keep Tulane’s guards from driving.
Keeping them off the line: Another positive: Tulane shot just seven free-throw attempts on the night.