Earlier in the week, I noted that the OVC seems to be righting itself, in a way; All the crazyness of the early season is starting to balance out, and the teams we expected to be at the top (Morehead, Murray) are emerging, as some of the other contenders begin to fade. That theme continued last night, with all 4 home teams picking up wins, and it’s all leading closer to a possible OVC title game of sorts in the final week of the conference regular season, when Morehead State travels to the CFSB Center in Murray. There’s another player for the final spot in the OVC tournament, and one team’s chances took a huge blow last night. Here’s your game recaps.
Tennessee Tech 44, Murray State 55
Murray State coach Bily Kennedy has been preaching defense to his team all season. I think he finally got the performance he wanted. TTU is held without a 3-point field goal, shoot just 32% in putting up just 44 points in the loss. Tech’s Kevin Murphy, after posting 31 on the Racers earlier in the season, was held to just 2 points on 1-7 shooting. The turnover continues to hit Murray, as the Racers turn the ball over 21 times, leading to 19 of the Golden Eagles 44 points. Not a lot of selflessness on one bench, as Tech ends the game with only 3 assists. Jud Dillard was a hot hand for Tech of the bench, scoring 18 points in 24 minutes.
Jacksonville State 55, UT Martin 68
The Skyhawks lead wire-to-wire, and have moved into a tie for 8th with a 13 point win over the Gamecocks thanks in part to 21% shooting in the first half from Jax State. Turnovers were the name of the game, with both teams coughing up the ball over 25 times each. Nick Murphy led all scores, putting up 20 for the Gamecocks, who now despite rallying in the past few weeks need some help to make the OVC tournament. Martin has a huge game on Thursday in their bid to make the tournament, when they travel to Eastern Illinois.
Eastern Illinois 65, Morehead State 81
The Gamecocks weren’t the only team held to 21% shooting in the first half last night. EIU hits 5-of-23 from the field in the opening 20 minutes, falling behind by 23 in the first half in the loss to the Eagles. The starters didn’t get it done for EIU, who posted 40 points off the bench. Kenneth Faried was held mostly in check, scoring only 11, but was one of 4 players in double digits for Morehead.
Southeast Missouri State 64, Eastern Kentucky 77
EKU seniors Justin Stommes and Perrin Spencer both put in 20 points, as EKU rides 57% shooting in a 13 point win over SEMO. EKU only turned the ball over 7 times, and ends the game with 17 assists. SEMO shot over 50% for the game as well, and only committed 12 turnovers, but allowed Eastern Kentucky to go 6-8 from 3-point range in the second half. This game marks the 7th straight win for EKU over the Redhawks.