OVC Ball Statbox
|18-9 (10-4 OVC)|
|20-9 (12-3 OVC)|
|26/60 (43.3%)||Field Goals||31/62 (50.0%)|
|14/33 (42.4%)||3-Point FG||15/31 (48.4%)|
|20/24 (83.3%)||Free Throws||18/28 (64.3%)|
|36 (9/27)||Rebounds (O/D)||38 (11/27)|
|4||2nd Chance Pts||21|
|10||Points off TO||25|
|20||Pts in the Paint||30|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
Tennessee Tech offense
What happened: You know when you play Belmont that they’re going to take a lot of three’s. When they make ’em? Good luck. Belmont used a 24-5 run, all made three’s to provide early separation, and held on to take a stranglehold on the East Division.
Tennessee Tech, which trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, used an 11-0 run to cut the Bruins lead to six, behind five straight made baskets. But they hit just two of their next twelve shots, allowing the Bruins to pull away in the final 10 minutes.
A late mini-run brought the Golden Eagles back within six in the final two minutes, but that’s as close as they would get.
Bruins guard Craig Bradshaw, playing in his final home game as a Bruin, struggled from the field, finishing with 11 points on 4-11 shooting, but a double-double from Evan Bradds and timely three’s from Austin Luke easily made up the difference.
Torrance Rowe scored a team-high 27 points, but shot poorly, hitting just 8-21 from the field.
Tennessee Tech, which had 38 points in the paint in these teams first meeting, was held to just six in the first half, and finished with 20.
What it means: This game was the Golden Eagles chance to get a stranglehold on the division, and the overall No. 1 seed. Instead, TTU falls a game back in the loss column of Belmont.
The good news for Tech is, weirdly, that one of their losses came against the West, whereas all of Belmont’s losses came against the East. That means if Belmont and TTU tie atop the league, (or, even if TSU wins out, and gets involved) Tech would hold the tiebreaker, thanks to a better overall record against the East Division. (A tie for the division lead is broken differently than other ties)
So — it’s simple. TTU must win out, and the Bruins must lose their finale. That’s the only path to a one-seed.
So, how about the three-seed, and avoiding a potential rematch with Belmont until the finale? TSU still has a pair of games left after Saturday, so they could beat Belmont, lose to UTM, and this isn’t an issue. The only way Tennessee State finishes 12-4 is to win out, creating a three-way tie scenario that would end in TTU’s favor. (See above if you missed it) What if they both finish at 12-5? Well…
- If Belmont beats TSU, but TSU wins their other two games, Tech would hold the tiebreaker due to a 1-1 record against the Bruins.
- If TSU beats Belmont, but loses to UTM — it depends whether TTU loses to Morehead or EKU. (In this scenario, they have to lose one of the two) If it’s to Morehead, TSU would win the tiebreaker. If it’s to EKU, the teams would have identical losses, and the three-seed would be determined by coin flip.
- If TSU beats Belmont, but loses to JSU — Tennessee State would win the tiebreaker, regardless which team TTU lost to.
Player of the Night: No dominant performances, but Hakeem Rodgers had a solid night, punctuated by 6-6 shooting at the charity stripe. Always nice to see players hit all their free-throws.
What’s Next: The Golden Eagles host Morehead State and EKU to finish out the regular season, and will certainly find time in between to put a hex on the Bruins.
What it means: I went over the only scenario by which TTU could win the East above, so if you need the details, check out that section. But there’s still Tennessee State.
So, what happens if TSU beats Belmont, and the two teams tie at 12-4. If TTU is also 12-4, the Golden Eagles win the East. But…what if TTU falls to 11-5?
Tiebreakers in the OVC are all about who you’ve beaten, and who you’ve lost to. That’s all there is to it. And, under this scenario, TSU and Belmont would have the same losses: a split in their head-to-head, and one loss each to Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky, and Morehead State. That makes the tie unbreakable.
What happens if there’s an unbreakable tie? A coin toss. So the division, the double-bye, the NIT auto-bid could all be determined by a coin toss.
While Belmont did allow Tennessee Tech to go on a 11-0 second-half run, it was far from the Bruins collapses we’ve seen in the past few contests. The Bruins were able to stem the tide, in part, thanks to a timely three by Luke to stop that run, and then the defense stepped up quickly to force five successive misses by TTU. This is what we’ve needed to see from Belmont in past weeks when they’ve build a lead — sustaining it. Tech got back within six, but you expect good teams to make runs. The great teams — make one back.
the division, the double-bye, the NIT auto-bid could all be determined by a coin toss
Player of the Night: Luke had a great shooting night, scoring 16 points, but still found time for seven assists and six rebounds…and that was off the bench, with senior Jeff Laidig getting the start.
What’s Next: Just a one-game week, on a Sunday, before traveling all the way down the road to the Muni for the OVC Tournament.