Morehead State (15-17) vs. Tennessee State (17-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 7, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Municipal Auditorium (8,000) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: OVC Digital Network. Home Record: MSU 10-5, TSU 11-2. Away Record: MSU 4-12, TSU 5-10. Neutral Record: MSU 1-0, TSU 1-1. Conference Record: MSU 8-8, TSU 11-5. Series Record: Morehead State leads, 32-28.
GAME NOTES: The quarterfinals of the 50th annual Ohio Valley Conference Tournament gets underway on Thursday night at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, as the Tennessee State Tigers clash with the Morehead State Eagles.
The Eagles, seeded fifth in this year's event, played in the first round of the tourney on Wednesday and used the opportunity to deliver a 73-66 win over UT Martin. With the victory MSU is now 28-38 in the tourney over the years, having won the championship a total of four times, the last coming in 2011.
As for the fourth-seeded Tigers, they are hoping to bounce back from their loss in the title game a year ago to Murray State. Owners of an 11-22 mark in the tournament, TSU has two trophies sitting at home, but the squad has not hoisted one since 1994. The squad was a bit shaky coming down the stretch in the regular season, losing two straight before grabbing an 85-81 overtime victory against Eastern Kentucky last Saturday at home.
Morehead State, which swept the Tigers during the regular season, now owns a 32-28 advantage in the all-time series.
The winner of this particular matchup will be back in action on Friday in the semifinals versus top-seeded Belmont for the right to compete for the championship and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night.
It wasn't pretty by any means, but somehow the Eagles survived their meeting with UT Martin despite turning the ball over 16 times, shooting a dismal 1- of-13 behind the 3-point line and converting just 22-of-36 (.611) at the charity stripe. The one area in which MSU did come up big was on the glass, collecting 21 offensive rebounds and holding a 46-23 rebounding margin overall. Milton Chavis finished with 14 points, Bruce Reed and Angelo Warner 11 apiece, while Kahlil Owens grabbed a team-high nine rebounds in just 17 minutes off the bench.
A balanced offensive program, Morehead State is scoring 72.5 ppg yet has just two players hitting for double figures in Chavis and Warner with 11.1 and 10.8 ppg, respectively, at this stage of the campaign. Sacrificing his own scoring chances for the betterment of the team, Devon Atkinson (7.7 ppg) directs the offense with his 162 assists, against 93 turnovers. Miscues have played too much of a part in games for the Eagles as they average 17.4 per outing.
Like the Eagles, TSU has also had issues with too many turnovers this season as the team averages more than 15 per contest, but the good news, if there is such a thing, is that Patrick Miller (14.6 ppg) has managed to lead the program in assists (169) with far fewer turnovers (103) in his 30 starts. The only player ahead of Miller on the scoring list these days, in terms of total points scored, is Kellen Thornton who is responsible for 15.5 ppg, shooting 54.7 percent from the floor while also standing in and collecting close to eight rebounds per game to lead in that department as well. Robert Covington, who missed 10 games this season, is putting up 16.8 ppg.
With a solid group of reliable scoring threats, not to mention being well- rested since last playing over the weekend, the Tigers seem to have many positives working in their favor for this meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee State 77, Morehead State 66
03/07 10:31:06 ET