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Morehead State men get first OVC victory over John Pelphrey's Tennessee Tech

(Photo: Morehead State Athletics)
(Photo: Morehead State Athletics)(WYMT)
Published: Jan. 4, 2020 at 7:34 PM EST
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Senior guard Djimon Henson scored 19 points to lead four players in double figures, and Morehead State hit 11 of its final 13 free throws and shot 86 percent at the line overall in handing Tennessee Tech an 83-72 defeat Saturday at Johnson Arena.

The Eagles, who are now 13-1 in home games versus Tech since 2005-06, improved to 7-8 overall and evened their OVC ledger at 1-1. TTU lost its sixth consecutive battle to slip to 3-12 overall and 0-2 in league play.

Henson, who has now scored double figures in five straight, nailed four triples and also dished out a career-best four assists.

Morehead State did not make a field goal in the final 5:27 but shot better than 20 percent over its season free throw average to fend off the Golden Eagles. Senior guard Jordan Walker added 17 markers, while freshman guard Ta'lon Cooper notched 14 and sophomore guard Malik Riddle cashed in with 13 points.The hosts nailed 52 percent from the floor in pulling away for a 49-27 halftime lead.

Jr. Clay led TTU with 17 points.

Morehead State remains at home next week, hosting SIUE and Eastern Illinois. SIUE is first on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET following the women's game.

KEY MOMENTS

- Henson's three-ball at the 8:36 mark of the opening half capped a 9-2 run for his team as they pulled ahead 24-16.

- Henson canned another triple at the 2:47 point in the half as MSU rocketed to a 40-22 lead.

- Freshman Tyzhaun Claude sank a bucket with 21 ticks left in the half to push the advantage to 49-27.

- Tech used a 13-2 run midway through the second half to trim the Eagle lead all the way back to eight (53-45) with 13:34 left.

- An ensuing 12-2 scoring spurt allowed MSU to climb back to a 17-point cushion (65-48) with 9:51 left following Henson's long-range successful shot.

- Freshman LJ Bryan got a layup with 5:27 left to mark the Eagles' final field goal

- Walker had five of the 11 free throws in the final 5:27, and Cooper sank four of them.

KEY STATS

- Morehead State was a season-best 19-of-22 at the free throw line.

- Claude grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds, his fifth double-figure rebounding effort this year. He averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in the two games this past weekend.

- Junior guard Juice Thomas had seven assists and six rebounds.

- MSU only had eight turnovers, its fifth game this year with less than 10 mistakes.

QUOTING COACH SPRADLIN

"It was a good day and a good defensive effort, especially in the first half. We found a way to finish the game. We really shared the ball and got it zipping around tonight. When you get 17 assists on 27 made field goals, it means you are moving the ball and not being selfish."

"Djimon had a fantastic game. It's a confidence thing with him. He is driving the ball and focusing on taking good shots and getting open shots. Jordan, Juice and Ta'lon are getting him the ball and doing a good job and taking care of the ball."

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