Men’s basketball scrapes narrow win against Tennessee Tech

Redshirt sophomore guard Courtney Carter of Memphis, Tennessee, makes a free throw.

Redshirt freshman forward DeeJuan Pruitt from Sacramento, California, scored a dunk with 15 seconds left in the game, barely seizing a 61-60 win for the Cougars.

 

The Cougars came out strong with a 31-19 lead going into the second half. Head Coach Brian Barone said he gives a lot of credit to redshirt sophomore guard Shamar Wright from Memphis, Tennessee, for a solid start.

 

“I thought that Shamar Wright set the tone early with some of his extra-effort plays,” Barone said.

 

However, the Golden Eagles quickly pushed back in the second half, pulling ahead 44-41 by 9:46. This led to an intense back and forth play to the end, which ended with Pruitt’s last-minute dunk after receiving a pass from redshirt freshman guard Desmond Polk from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 

“That was a big bucket,” Pruitt said. “We talked about it during the timeout and we went out and executed it like the coach told us.”

 

Pruitt ended the game with a double-double, scoring 17 points and bringing 12 rebounds. Barone said Pruitt’s focus is what earned him this performance.

 

“He had one turnover in 32 minutes,” Barone said. “And he made some big free throws when he needed [to]. He kept his mind focused on the task at hand, and that allows you to get 17 and 12.”

 

Redshirt junior guard Courtney Carter from Memphis, Tennessee, added 12 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and 4 steals to the stat sheet. With this being his second game in a row playing 40 minutes, Barone said he saw Carter was fatigued toward the end of the game. Despite this, Carter said he’s fully willing to push through.

 

“It’s a challenge, but I am up to the challenge,” Carter said. “If my team needs me to play 40 minutes, I’ll play 40.”

 

Barone said he’s proud of his team for pulling through their second consecutive win in another hard-fought game.

 

“When you coach or you play basketball, these are the games you want to be a part of — this kind of competition,” Barone said. “Our guys have really embraced that competition lately.

 

This puts the Cougars at 9-17 overall and 3-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Carter said they are ready to press forward in their last two regular season games in Nashville, Tennessee.

 

“We’re going to carry on the momentum, continue to play hard and continue to play together,'' Carter said. “We’re going to go get some road ‘dubs.’”

 

The Cougars play next at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 24 against Tennessee State, followed by their final regular season game at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 26 against Belmont.

 

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