SEMO’s in, Austin Peay is hanging by a thread, and does Morehead State realize the season hasn’t ended yet?
Last Night’s Recaps
Tennessee State 70, Morehead State 68
This had a finish to remember. Or forget, depending on which side you were on. Tennessee State led throughout the second half, until a late Morehead State run tied the game at 67. TSU calls a timeout with :07.1 seconds remaining, only they don’t have any, so a technical foul is called against the Tigers. Morehead State hits one free-throw to take a one-point, 68-67 lead. Five seconds later, Patrick Miller hits what would be the game winning three, as the Tigers pull of a major upset in Morehead. Miller finished with a game-high 38 points and TSU’s defense, 11th ranked in the league, held Morehead State to 42% shooting from the field.
Tennessee Tech 67, Eastern Kentucky 74
TTU controlled most of the first 30 minutes, but a late EKU run was too much for the Golden Eagles to overcome. Jeremiah Samarrippas led all scorers with 22 points, but couldn’t overcome a pair of 20-point nights from Tarius Johnson and Glenn Cosey. EKU, who committed a season-high 17 turnovers in a loss in Cookeville, turned the ball over just seven times in the win. Both teams shot better than 50% from the floor, and 75% from the free-throw line on the night.
Murray State 86, UT Martin 72
The Skyhawks gave the Racers a game for awhile, before a 9-0 second half run sparked the Racers pullaway. Five Murray State players scored in double figured, led by 20 from T.J. Sapp off the bench. Both teams were in the single digits in turnovers, and few fouls made for a relatively quick affair. Myles Taylor led the Skyhawks with 16 points, and Dee Oldham added 15 in the loss. One point of concern for Murray State: Jarvis Williams left the game with back spasms. No word on his availability for Saturday, or next week’s OVC Tournament.
Austin Peay 80, Southeast Missouri 83
Austin Peay had their chances. Despite being down nine with under 2:00 to play, the Governors had the ball down just two in the final 11 seconds, but couldn’t convert on an off-balance 18-footer. SEMO shot 60% from the field, but just three three’s and struggling to contain Austin Peay’s guards helped keep the game close. Both teams were sloppy with the basketball, combining for 34 turnovers. Travis Betran scored a game-high 28 in the losing effort. Southeast Missouri is assured of a trip to Nashville, and could rise as high as the five-seed. Austin Peay needs a loss from Eastern Illinois on Saturday to even have a chance of making it back to the tournament.
If The Tournament Started Today
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Player of the Night: Patrick Miller, Tennessee State. Not only do you drop 38 points 12-19 shooting from the field, you hit a game-winner with under three seconds to go. While TSU has had a year to forget, I hope they don’t forget just how good Miller has been this year.
Player of the Night in a loss: Jeremiah Samarrippas, Tennessee Tech. The Golden Eagles senior scored 22 points on very efficient 8-11 shooting, and had seven assists and three rebounds to go with his effort.
Unsung Hero: Jamaal Calvin, Southeast Missouri. Have you not heard his name this year? He’s averaging about 13 minutes a game for the Redhawks, and played just 15 tonight. But during those limited minutes, he dished out five assists, and hit 2-3 from the field. He’s just a freshman, and could be a solid player in his next three years in Cape.
Team Trending Upward: Eastern Kentucky. A tough, gritty win tonight, despite getting beat on the boards for the seemingly thousandth time this season. (The actual number may be slightly lower…) If they win on Saturday, they’ll earn the three-seed. I’ll let you decide for yourself just how “good” that really is, given Murray State is likely to be the two seed, and EKU’s performance in January against the Racers wasn’t exactly great, especially compared to their two performances against the Bruins. But, three-seed! Yaaayyyyy…
(Serious question to our EKU readers: Belmont or Murray? Which are you more confident against? And don’t say both…)
Team Trending Downward: Morehead State. Saturday’s loss was embarrassing because of how it happened. Tonight’s loss is embarrassing just because it happened. Nothing against Tennessee State, (okay, a little against Tennessee State) but teams that think they’re contenders to make the NCAA Tournament should beat four-win teams on their home floor. It goes back to what I said in today’s First Word: Morehead State struggles against teams with great guards. And all three teams possibly seeded ahead of them in Nashville all have at least two really good guys in the backcourt. This is a bad time to start a slide, and they’ll need to right the ship quickly to make a run in Nashville.
Austin Peay should probably deserve mention here also, but they’ve been trending downwards for a few weeks now. They have one last shot for redemption on Saturday.