COOKEVILLE — The road woes continued for the East Tennessee State basketball team.
The Bucs lost their fourth road game in a row Wednesday night as Tennessee Tech used a decisive run to open the second half for an 83-74 victory that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.
As has been the case during much of the road trip, ETSU fell behind early and could not catch up. The Golden Eagles then opened the second half with a 24-4 run and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way.
The Bucs, who fell to 3-5, close out their six-game road swing Saturday at Appalachian State. Tennessee Tech, with its second win over a NCAA Division I team, improved to 4-4. ETSU had won the last six games in the series with Tech.
Kevin Murphy scored 23 points to lead the Golden Eagles. Sheldon Cooley and Isiah Brown led ETSU with 12 points apiece.
Tennessee Tech shot 55 percent from the field and went 9 for 18 on 3-pointers. It was the first time ETSU had given up more than 79 points this season.
Tech led at halftime 37-29 after the Bucs had cut the deficit to four with 49 seconds left in the half. The Golden Eagles then scored the first five points of the second half to go up 13 and forced the Bucs to use a timeout a minute and a half into the second half. The timeout didn’t help.
When Kevin Murphy nailed a jump shot with 15:36 left, Tech’s lead was 20 and the rout was on. The Golden Eagles led by as many as 28 points.
The Bucs managed to cut the deficit to 13 on a 3-point play by freshman Rashawn Rembert. ETSU clawed within nine points in the last minute.
ETSU’s Tommy Hubbard fouled out with 10:57 left after scoring 10 points.
Bucs coach Murry Bartow was called for his first technical foul of the season with 6:45 left in the first half. Bartow was arguing on a play where Hubbard was called for a foul while boxing out for a rebound. Jud Dillard made both free throws to put Tech up 23-17.
Lukas Poderis replaced Brown in ETSU’s starting lineup, ending a string of 99 consecutive starts for Brown. Poderis scored eight points. Brown made 8 of 10 free throws and led the Bucs with seven rebounds. Marcus Dubose added 10 points.
The Bucs shot 41 percent, going 4 for 14 on 3-pointers. Each team went 20 for 27 from the line. The Golden Eagles out-rebounded the Bucs 36-27.
Dillard added 14 points for Tech, while Dennis Ogbe had 11.
The Bucs finally get a home game on Dec. 19 when Milligan College comes to the Dome. It will be exactly one month since their last home game. The home cooking won’t last long, though. They head back on the road for the next two games, Dec. 23 at Tennessee and Jan. 1 at Clemson.