SIUE is the latest team to enter the 7-win club, which should lock their position into the OVC Tournament. And with just two weeks to go in the season, it’s looking more that the 8-seed could squeak in at 6-10. (Looking at you, Austin Peay and Eastern Illinois)
Not a lot in the way of close games on Saturday, as three road teams dominate on the way to victories.
Eastern Illinois 60, Murray State 72
The suspensions are over (although all they were all relegated to the bench) but it’s not enough for Eastern Illinois to over the West Division leaders. Sherman Blanford led the way again with another impressive performance, scoring a game-high 26-points. Jeffrey Moss led the Racers with 18 points, as Murray holds EIU to 41% shooting from the floor, and 2-11 from behind the arc.
Eastern Kentucky 86, Jacksonville State 65
The window of opportunity appears to be closing on the Gamecocks. Eastern Kentucky shoots 65% (seriously?!?!) from the floor, 52% from three-point range, as the Colonels snap a 2-game losing streak. Four EKU players score in double figures, including Tarius Johnson who scored a game-high 19 points on 6-8 shooting. Eastern Kentucky gets just a single offensive rebound (not that they had any opportunities) as the Colonels get 24 assists on 31 made baskets.
Morehead State 79, Tennessee Tech 53
The Eagles defense was on lock down, as TTU shoots under 35% from the floor in a blowout loss. TTU was within six early in the second half, before Morehead put the game on cruise control. Drew Kelly leads the way with 18 points, and freshman Greg Dotson added 14 in his fourth start of the year. Jeremiah Samarrippas was the only Golden Eagle in double figures.
SIUE 83, Austin Peay 68
Pedestrian by EKU standards, SIUE shoot 57% from the floor, holds Austin Peay to just 41% as the Cougars move back above .500 in Ohio Valley Conference play. Donovine Stewart and Rozell Nunn lead SIUE with 17 points each. Chris Horton pulled down a double-double, and Travis Betran scored a game high 19 points, but shoots just 4-16 from the floor, and 1-8 from behind the arc in the loss. Austin Peay got just 10 points from their bench on the night, as they fall back to within a game of ninth place Southeast Missouri.
Player of the Night: Sherman Blanford, Eastern Illinois. Blandford was the only player to break the 20-point barrier on Saturday, his fifth straight game breaking 20.
Player of the Night in a win: Rozell Nunn, SIUE. Nunn also continues his improved play as of late, as the JUCO transfer double his points average on the year. Since January 16th, Nunn is averaging nearly 12 points a game, as the Cougars look to have all but locked their first ever trip to Nashville.
Unsung Hero: Jonathan Fairell, Murray State. The junior forward hasn’t been good at the free-throw line this year. That’s an understatement, really, as he’s hitting just 41% from the line on the year. But he hits 7-9 in the win over Eastern Illinois, a positive sign if those numbers could remain in anyway consistent.
Team Trending Upwards: SIUE. The Cougars are in, and still in the fight for a single bye. They need some help, but there is little question SIUE has risen above their expectations.
Team Trending Downwards: Austin Peay. They really needed to win two this week. With Morehead and Eastern up next week, the Governors could conceivably be a game behind for eighth when they travel to Southeast Missouri on the final Thursday.