BY SCOTT WILSON
Cade Crosland was tired heading into the final minute of Tennessee Tech’s home basketball game Thursday night with Jacksonville State University. He had played almost 25 minutes, taken a lot of shots and it was wearing on him.
However, with 6 seconds remaining in the game Crosland nailed a 3-pointer from just left of the top of the key to give the Golden Eagles a 75-74 lead. Jacksonville State’s last-second desperation shot fell short.
“You don’t really need to have legs to make that shot because I didn’t have legs whatsoever,” laughed Crosland after the game. “You just have to have God. I honestly didn’t expect it but I am so happy it went in. It (pass to Crosland from Hunter Vick) was such a selfless play by Hunter.”
The win moves the Golden Eagles to 7-19 overall and 4-9 in the Ohio Valley Conference, still in the hunt for the final postseason berth. The Gamecocks fall to 10-16 and 5-8 in league play.
“We’re so proud of Cade,” said Tech coach John Pelphrey. “Nobody loves this program more and he sets the standard for us. He does everything in his power to have a servant attitude. When that ball left his hands there was no doubt in my mind that thing was going down.”
The Golden Eagles opened the second half with a 45-40 advantage. Thanks to some big buckets from Jr. Clay, Keishawn Davidson and Crosland, Tech pushed its lead out to 59-49 with 12:35 to go in the game. However, JSU’s De’Torrian Ware and Jacara Cross helped the Gamecocks fight back to 64-62 with 9:36 to go.
The game went back and forth for the rest of the way with neither team gaining much of an advantage. A basket by Ware gave Jacksonville a 68-64 lead, but a 3-pointer later by Hunter Vick brought the Golden Eagles to within two at 72-70 with 1:22 to play.
Ty Hudson scored for the Gamecocks and Vick hit another layup to make it 74-72 in favor of Jacksonville State with 21 seconds to play. After a big defensive stop by the Golden Eagles, Tech brought the ball down the court and Vick found Crosland wide open.
“We made some decisions as to how we wanted to play this game as far as personnel, but it didn’t always help us, especially from a defensive standpoint,” Pelphrey said.
Crosland led the way for Tech with a career high of 21 points. Vick scored 15, while Clay tallied 13 and Davidson scored 12.
Ware led JSU with 26 points in the loss.
“The main thing tonight was the guys kept battling,” Pelphrey said. “They were resilient. It wasn’t easy and we put ourselves in some tough situations. (However) there have been so many positives (with this team).”
Tech hits the road for its next game on Saturday. The Golden Eagles will visit Tennessee State University in Nashville. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m.