Tennessee Tech Falls at Belmont
Belmont (20-9, 12-3) held off a late-charging Tennessee Tech Golden Eagle (18-9, 10-4) team Saturday evening.
With eight minutes to go in the first half, Belmont began hitting triples consistently. The only thing that changed was Tennessee Tech foot speed. As the TTU starters collected moisture on their brows, their close outs lagged.
For Tech their strongest patches were the first half of both halves. The defense slipped a little after long stretches a gameplay.
When facing a high-octane offense like Belmont, the defense can’t slip at all. The Bruins don’t need any advantages. Saturday night the shooting was magnificent. Belmont is difficult to defend because so many different guys can emerge as consistent shooters.
Taylor Barnette was unusually aggressive with the dribble. The dead-eye recorded two shots inside the arc, and got the free throw line for two more points. Nick Smith and Austin Luke each hit four triples off the bench. Truthfully Belmont grabbed the lead midway through the first half and only faced one significant threat, as Tech barreled to within four points at 64-60.
The Bruins quickly grabbed back the momentum though. And they earned a key home win.
The Bruins had a difficult time establishing Bradds early. Both Anthony Morse and Ryan Martin kept him bouncing around like a pinball.
Though he finished with 21 pts and 13 rebounds, Bradds was battered all night long.
The win gives the Bruins a stronger hold on the OVC East lead. They are 1.5 games up on Tech and 2.0 games ahead of Tennessee State. Considering the Bruins play just one more game they are exclusively the hunted now.
Tech did make their customary second-half charge, with large contributions from Hakeem Rogers, Ryan Martin, and of course Rowe.
Rogers was uneven, but dynamic offensively. He scored 15 points with four rebounds, and three assists. Martin was dutifully aggressive after the Belmont run and halftime. It took too long for the senior to arrive. His 16 points felt like too little too late.