OVC Ball Statbox
|12-11 (6-5 OVC)|
|16-7 (7-3 OVC)|
|26/58 (44.8%)||Field Goals||24/44 (54.5%)|
|7/22 (31.8%)||3-Point FG||6/13 (46.2%)|
|17/25 (68.0%)||Free Throws||23/37 (62.2%)|
|33 (14/19)||Rebounds (O/D)||31 (8/23)|
|12||2nd Chance Pts||9|
|15||Points off TO||18|
|20||Pts in the Paint||36|
Tempo Tracker (Possessions)
Morehead State offense
Tennessee State offense
What happened: When is a nine point lead in the final minute not safe? When Morehead State hits four straight three-point shots in the final 30 seconds, that’s when.
But the Eagles rally would be in vain: Morehead State couldn’t force misses at the free-throw line, as Tahjere McCall hit all six of his free-throw attempts in the final 27 seconds, part of an 15-16 night at the charity stripe, to secure the win for the Tigers, who extend their lead over Morehead State in the division, and more importantly, for the final single-bye in the OVC Tournament in Nashville.
McCall finished the night with a game-high 23 points, despite not-so-hot 4-13 shooting from the field. Armani Chaney added 17 points off the bench, thanks to a much more efficient 7-12 shooting from the field.
Entering that final 30-second stretch, the Eagles were just 3-18 (16.7%) from three-point range, and hadn’t hit a single three to that point in the second half.
Xavier Moon led four Morehead State players in double figures with 20 points.
What it means: Well, the Eagles chances of winning the division are very slim. It would require at least three losses by both Belmont and Tennessee Tech, plus a pair of losses by TSU. Morehead State only plays each team once — meaning they need a ton of help.
Getting the single-bye is a little more possible, but this loss didn’t exactly help. They’ll have a rematch with TSU in a week and a half — that game is a must-win, else the Eagles will be three games plus the tiebreaker behind. They also need someone else to beat TSU, and then it comes down to tiebreakers. But even then — they probably need either Murray State or UT Martin to win the division. Morehead State lost to EIU, TSU won against the Panthers — and that would come up early if a tiebreaker can’t be broken by head-to-head record.
Bottom line — Morehead State needs a little help.
While they’re in a good position right now, it’s worth noting that the Eagles aren’t an OVC Tournament lock yet, either. They’ve lost two straight, but are still two games up in the loss column from falling out. Another pair of wins in the final five games, and there’s no question that the Eagles are heading to Nashville.
Player of the night: How about a double-double from DeJuan Marrero. 12 points on 5-7 shooting from the field, and 11 rebounds, including six of Morehead’s 14 offensive boards.
What’s next: The beginning of a four-game homestand: EKU, Belmont, then a non-Division I opponent sneaked in there.
What it means: Coupled with Belmont’s loss, Tennessee State fans should feel good about being in a position to win the division, and earn that coveted double-bye at the OVC Tournament. That being said, it’s hard to tell if TSU is in the driver’s seat or not — the Tigers have lost to both, but play both again. They can force a two, or three-way tie without any help. There, it’s all down to who finishes where across the rest of the conference as to who would get the division title.
Player of the night: He didn’t shoot the ball well, but McCall hit the shots he had to: at the free-throw line.
What’s next: A chance to take down of the two teams ahead of them in the standings. TSU hosts Tennessee Tech on Wednesday.