RICHMOND, Ky. – With a 2-point lead and less than four minutes in the game, Eastern Kentucky held Tennessee Tech scoreless for more than two and a half minutes on its way to a 73-65 victory on Saturday at McBrayer Arena.
After Mackenzie Coleman drew the Golden Eagles (4-4, 2-3 OVC) within two, 58-56, with a put back at the 3:53 mark of the fourth quarter, the Colonels (5-5, 4-2 OVC) didn’t allow a point for the next 2:41.
Alice Recanati hit a jumper. Bria Bass followed with two free throws and a lay-up to complete a run of six unanswered and extended Eastern’s lead to eight, 64-56. Jada Guinn ended the TTU drought with a put back with 1:12 left in the game.
During that game-changing defensive stretch, Tech was 0-for-4 from the field and had one turnover.
Freshman Kendall Wingler finished with a career-best 22 points to go along with seven rebounds. Recanati, also a freshman, posted a career-best 19 points, going 7-of-10 from the field, 3-for-3 from 3-point range and 2-for-2 at the free throw line. She also had five assists.
The Colonels had 14 assists on 26 made field goals. Eastern Kentucky went 14-for-15 (93.3 percent) at the free throw line, out-scoring Tennessee Tech by 13 at the stripe.
The first half was defined by an EKU run in the first quarter and a TTU run in the second. Down, 8-7, the Colonels scored 12 unanswered as the Golden Eagles went more than four minutes without scoring. A 3-pointer by Recanati started the run. Wingler capped it with a 3-pointer from the left corner and a lay-up to give Eastern a 19-8 advantage with 2:54 left in the first quarter.
After Eastern Kentucky went in front by 13, 25-12, on Recanati’s jumper to start the second quarter, Tennessee Tech went on an 18-6 run to get back in the game. Coleman’s jumper finished off a streak of nine straight and capped the run, drawing the visitors to within one, 31-30, with 1:53 on the clock in the second. The Colonels led by six, 40-34, at the break.
The Golden Eagles scored the first six points of the third quarter to tie the game. Coleman’s tip-in made it 40-40 with 6:12 left in the period. TTU scored just four points the rest of the quarter and Eastern took a 51-44 advantage into the fourth.
Just like the third, Tennessee Tech started the fourth hot. The visitors scored the first six points again, closing to within one, 51-50, on a jumper from Coleman with 8:42 remaining in the game. After a jumper from Jayla Johnson put a stop to the run, Tech never got closer than two the rest of the way.
Mackenzie finished with a team-best 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Golden Eagles. Anna Jones had 12 points and 10 boards.
EKU will play at Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.