So between taking my trip to Clarksville, and the Super Bowl, I took a few days off from the blog. And all of a sudden, the OVC seems to have righted itself. Murray and Morehead are 1-2, Austin Peay is one of four teams fighting in the middle, and the bottom four are pretty close to even. Despite watching teams jockey back and forth, it appears the preseason favorites might actually end up being the postseason favorites. For that to happen, 4 road teams had to win on Saturday, and the Govs had to lose 2 straight. Morehead now has control over their chances at winning the OVC, but that means winning at Murray against a Racers squad that’s won 6 straight. A week ago I called Tennessee State pretenders. Still waiting for them to prove me wrong.
Murray State 66, Eastern Illinois 53
Of all the teams in the chase for the OVC title going into last week, Murray had the toughest closing schedule, facing all other 5 opponents in that race and going on the road to the two OVC teams that defeated the Racers at the CFSB Center. Last night, the Racers just completed the first leg, sweeping a 3 game road swing. Murray goes on a 20-4 run to close the game on their way to a 13 point win. EIU turned the ball over 20 times, losing by double digits despite shooting 14% better from the floor. (56% to 42%) Murray has another 20-point scorer, with BJ Jenkins scoring 21 point behind 5-of-9 3-point shooting. Isaiah Cannan adds 16 off the bench for the Racers. Another strong performance from the line for Murray, hitting 14-of-18 in the second half. The Racers head back home to face Tennessee Tech Thursday. Things don’t any easier for EIU, as the losers of 5 straight head on the the Death Valley road swing, facing Morehead State Thursday,
Austin Peay 64, Tennessee Tech 70
Losing Saturday at home against Murray was a blow to the Governors chances of winning the OVC title. Losing last night might cost the Govs a double-bye. Tennessee Tech survives shooting 59% from the line, and never builds a double digit lead on their way to a season sweep of Austin Peay. Once again, the Govs resort to early fouling (with about 2:00 remaining) and cut the lead to 2 with under 30 seconds, but missed two late 3’s. Will Triggs led the way for the Govs with 25 points and 8 rebounds. Tech travels to Murray on Thursday. Austin Peay looks to stop the slide against another team on a slide, Tennessee State.
Tennessee State 73, Jacksonville State 76(OT)
The Gamecocks needed a rally to force OT, and didn’t stop rallying on the way to their 3rd win in 5 games. Jacksonville State hits 12-16 FT in OT, and holds off the Tigers by 3. Nick Murphy forces 4 steals in the extra period, sparking a mini (5-0)rally off 3 TSU turnovers in a row. Jacksonville State continues their campaign to make the OVC tournament Thrusday when they travel to UT Martin. TSU, losers in 4 of their last 5, are off until Saturday, when they head to Clarksville to face Austin Peay.