NICEVILLE, Fl. — Don’t look now, but the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles appear to be firing on all cylinders.
Coming into Saturday’s finale at the Emerald Coast Classic against the Maryland Eastern Shore Hawks, the Golden Eagles were riding a four-game winning streak, and sat at 5-1 on the young 2017-18 season. Their winning streak included an eight-point win on the road over the New Mexico Lobos, a game in which Aleksa Jugovic went for 37 points inside one of the nation’s toughest arenas to play in as a road team.
In the fifth-place game at the Emerald Coast Classic, the Golden Eagles were looking for their fifth straight victory. From the outset, Tennessee Tech was the superior team, controlling the game from the opening tip and never looking back.
Tennessee Tech shot 50.8% as a team, and never trailed on the afternoon, cruising to the 90-60 win over the Hawks.
Five players for the Golden Eagles scored in double-figures, led by a game-high 24 points from senior guard Kajon Mack. On the day, he was 9-of-10 from the floor, and 6-of-7 from three point range. Mack also added four rebounds and three assists in just 26 minutes of action.
Shaq Calhoun (15 points) and Cade Crosland (12 points) came off the bench to give the Golden Eagles an extra boost on offense.
Forward Tyler Jones and guard Ahmad Frost led the way for Maryland Eastern Shore, scoring 18 points apiece. Logan McIntosh, who was playing in his second game after returning from an ankle injury, recorded four points and four rebounds in the loss.
Out of the gate, the teams traded three pointers, and the score was 6-6 early on. Curtis Phillips, Jr. ended the three point barrage with a layup plus the foul to give the Golden Eagles a 9-6 edge. Throughout the rest of the day, Tennessee Tech wouldn’t relinquish their lead.
Tennessee Tech took a 20-point lead into the half, and built on their lead as the second half moved along. The Hawks never threatened the lead of the Golden Eagles, who cruised to the 90-60 victory to close out the Emerald Coast Classic.
The Golden Eagles shot an even 50% (15-of-30) from three point range, and out-rebounded the Hawks by a 44-31 margin. Maryland Eastern Shore shot just 35% (21-of-60) from the floor in defeat.
Tennessee Tech (6-1) will put their five-game winning streak on the line Wednesday night when they welcome the Lipscomb Bisons to town.
Maryland Eastern Shore (2-4) will conclude a six-game road trip with a game against the Old Dominion Monarchs on Monday evening.
– T. Bennett