Greg Waddell of Murray State News is the RTC correspondent for the Ohio Valley Conference.
Standings: (as of 2/7)
Team of the Week – Rivals Murray State and Morehead State share the honor this week as both teams played admirably in their games. Murray continued its reign of dominance over the OVC, squeaking past hated rival Austin Peay 65-63 in the Regional Special Events Center while Morehead roared to a 84-75 win over Tennessee Tech to sweep the season series and capture 13 of their last 14 games. The two teams will square off on Feb. 25 in Morehead, Ky., in a game that could determine conference supremecy.
Player of the Week – In a closely contested battle, Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried edges Tennessee-Martin guard Marquis Weddle for the title of Player of the Week in this edition. Although Weddles’ play (24 ppg and 6 rpg) over the week was superb, Faried claimed the award by showcasing an all-around game more suited for the NBA than the OVC, notching a dominant performance over the weekend against Tennessee Tech to raise his averages for the week to 19 points and 14 boards. During the stretch Faried recorded his 17th and 18th double-doubles of the season including his ninth straight.
Game of the Week – Murray State 65, Austin Peay 63. When rivals collide, crazy things tend to happen. This edition’s game of the week was just another example as it took every ounce of magic the Racers had to keep the team’s conference mark unblemished for one more game, edging the Govs on a last second shot by junior guard Isacc Miles. Although Miles provided the heroics, Danero Thomas provided the steady hand as the senior forward from Louisiana paced the Racers with 23 points and 11 rebounds. On the other side, Anthony Campbell played well for Austin Peay, nearly recording a double-double with 20 points and eight boards.
ESPN released its schedule of games for its Bracketbuster series on Feb 1. All 11 OVC schools will participate in for the fifth straight season with games taking place on Feb. 19 and 20. OVC schools are 16-29 all-time in the event, including a 3-7 record last season.
- Oral Roberts at Austin Peay
- Northern Illinois at Eastern Illinois
- Winthrop at Eastern Kentucky
- Presbyterian at Jacksonville State
- Morehead State at Illinois State
- Morgan State at Murray State (TV – ESPNU)
- Southeast Missouri at Miami (Ohio)
- SIU Edwardsville at Cal State Fullerton
- Tennessee State at Central Michigan
- Tennessee Tech at Appalachian State
- UT Martin at Ball State
Murray State. The Racers continued their unbeaten streak through conference play, knocking off Tennessee Tech and Austin Peay in dramatic fashion. Against Tech, MSU started off slow but a second half surge allowed them to pull away easily behind B.J. Jenkins’ 17 point outburst. Jenkins also added five rebounds in the rout. The Austin Peay game was a different story altogether though as the Racers struggled to put together any rhythm and fell behind early. Isacc Miles, who struggled to score the entire game, put the team on his back in the final two minutes, scoring seven points including a dagger at the buzzer to knock off the Govs. Danero Thomas was a workhorse throughout the game for Murray State, recording 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Morehead State. This past week was a good one for the Eagles as they swept the season series against Tennessee Tech while also extending their win streak to 13 of their last 14 games. Kenneth Faried was a monster down low for Morehead State as the forward from New Jersey did everything but get the team water. Against the Golden Eagles he was especially dangerous, cleaning the glass for 17 rebounds while adding 26 points, but the game before was a relataively pedestrian one for the big man as he recorded only 12 points and 11 boards. Teammate Maze Stallworth picked up the slack though, dropping 26 points and 11 rebounds. Farried’s two double-doubles push his season total to 18 and nine straight.
Eastern Kentucky. The past week was also good for the Colonels and Papa Oppong as they jumped out to two wins behind the guard’s stellar play. In the games Oppong put on a shooting clinic for the opposition dropping two games of double-digit scoring in which he recorded 20 and 19 points respectively. The highlight of the week as the Colonels knocked off Jacksonville State on a Justin Stommes layup with 21 seconds remaining. EKU escaped to play another, notching their seventh straight home win against the Gamecocks.
Austin Peay. Despite dropping the heartbreaker to Murray, the week wasn’t all that bad to the Governors. Forward Anthony Campbell lit up the nets for 20 points on six of 10 shooting against the Racers while adding eight rebounds. He was equally impressive from the floor in Austin Peay’s win over Tennessee Martin and he notched 13 points and 10 boards. Center John Fraley had his way with the Skyhawk defense in the win as he cleaned the boards for 14 rebounds and added 13 points as well.
Tennessee Tech. And now to the bad… Very few things went right for the Golden Eagles this week as they dropped tow straight games. Kevin Murphy was one of the lone bright spots in the 76-58 shellacking at the hands of Eastern Kentucky as the guard netted 16 points. There are no moral victories in conference play so although the margin against Morehead State was a little smaller, a loss is still a loss in the books. Jud Dillard did everything he could to help Tech in the Morehead game, but sometimes that not enough as his 25 points and 12 rebounds just couldn’t get them over the jump. Maybe next week.
Jacksonville State. Another 0-2 week for the Gamecocks was made a little bit worse by a close loss at the hands of EKU on Saturday. Nick Murphy was a monster in the first game, a 94-75 loss to Morehead State but the problem is he was the only one to show up, his 22 points and 12 rebounds just not enough to offset the point differential. Jacksonville State rebounded nicely against EKU but ran out of gas in the end as a crucial play by Eastern’s Justin Stommes put them down one and a timely charge call on the next possession ended their chances at a W. Trenton Marshall scored 19 points and added five boards in the loss.
Eastern Illinois. They fall in the bottom part of this list because they only played one game this week. That one game was a win, but coming against one of the weaker teams (SEMO) in the league doesn’t help. Jeremy Granger roughed up the Redhawks for 19 points on nine of 15 shooting and James Hollowell added 10 points and 5 rebounds for the victors.
Southeast Missouri State. Things got worse for the Redhawks as their only win this week came against a team technically not even in their league…literally. After a loss to the Panthers, SEMO took on lowly SIU-Edwardsville, currently 3-20 overall, to claim an ugly win. Sam Pearson scored 11 points and added four rebounds in the loss while Marland Smith netted 17 points and five rebounds in the win.
Tennessee State. Tennessee State doesn’t fall this low because of a lack off effort, just a lack of production. Despite Robert Covington’s outburst of 19 points and eight rebounds the Tigers failed to match up with Murray State, and squandered an early lead before falling by 22 (76-54). Jacquan Nobles and Will Peters did everything they could against Tennessee- Martin and their combined 39 points (Nobles-20, and Peters-19) helped TSU squeak past Martin 74-68.
UT Martin. Marquis Weddle is an animal; his team…not so much. Despite two 20-point games (23,25) against quality opponents in Austin Peay and Tennessee State the Skyhawks just couldn’t pull off a win in the end. The loss of a player like Lester Hudson would hurt any team but Martin must find a way to help out Weddle if they expect do anything come tournament time.
SIU Edwardsville. SIU- Edwardsville is doing a valiant job despite the odds stacked against them. The talent on their team will get better and better in future seasons but they aren’t there yet and it’s no ones fault. Nikola Bundalo did his best against SEMO, notching nine points and 13 rebounds, but Edwardsville found itself overmatched in every facet of the game and went home with a tough 68-49 loss.