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Ohio Valley Notebook

February 17, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Ohio Valley Conference Notebook

by Stephen Murphy

Action leads to in-action!

Tennessee State proved once again that Ringling Brothers, and Barnum and Bailey have nothing on them. The bright spot being the head that Theresa Phillips seems to have on her shoulders, there is a hunch that she could bring things back to the traditional standards TSU once maintained. As if the OVC is not in a tiff over the senseless behavior of Tennessee State Coach Nolan Richardson III, now they have been marred by another incident. The Ohio Valley Conference has taken action in response to the on-court disturbance, which occurred during the Tennessee State-Eastern Kentucky men’s basketball game, which was held February 10 in Richmond, KY.

EKU’s Shawn Fields and TSU’s Cedric Bryson were involved in a bumping and elbowing incident underneath the EKU basket With approximately eight minutes left in the second half. The referees immediately stopped play, and assessed flagrant technical fouls against both players. They were both ejected from the game. As the referees were starting to assess the penalties, TSU’s Josh Cooperwood exercised his WWF techniques on an EKU player, and pulled backwards. After that, many players from both benches entered the court.

In the ensuing disturbance, the game officials indicated that TSU’s Bryson, and Eastern Kentucky players Champ Slaughter and Kenyatta Dix had engaged in separate fighting incidents. Per NCAA rules, all three are suspended for the next game played by their respective teams. OVC Interim Commissioner Ron English has assessed a one-game suspension to Cooperwood for his action. If that was not enough, EKU’s Sherard Rogers, hurled a box of mini-basketballs at a group of players, and was suspended immediately by EKU Head Coach Travis Ford. English supports that action, and will not impose further penalty on Rogers.

Back to Normalcy – let’s hope

Austin Peay

Morehead State keeps a tight hold in their lead over the Governors of Austin Peay, leading the conference by a slim 1/2 game margin. Both teams are scheduled to play Thursday night. Austin Peay recently thumped Tennessee State in a historic game. The visiting Tigers were coached by athletics director Teresa Phillips, making her the first woman to ever coach a Division I men’s basketball team. Anthony Davis scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Thursday night, to lead the Govs to a 71-56. The victory pushed APSU’s winning streak to eight, elevating them to 16-6 overall and 9-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference. Tennessee State fell to 2-21 overall and 0-12 in the OVC.

Phillips, who formerly coached the TSU women, stepped in as coach after interim coach Hosea Lewis was suspended following his team’s altercation with Eastern Kentucky on Monday night. Early in the second half, the Govs built as much as a 23-point advantage. But the Tigers never backed off. In fact, TSU scored 12 straight points to make it a 47-36 game with 10:48 left. But Davis scored the game’s next five points and the Tigers never got closer than 12 points the game’s remainder.

Recently after an 87-80 OT victory which saw Henry Domercant drop 38 points on politicians of Austin Peay. The Governors held on for a 72-69 victory against Murray State In front of a regional television audience, Josh Lewis led the Governors with 20 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and four assists (all team highs). The win was the seventh straight for the Governors, the longest win streak during head Coach Dave Loos’ APSU career. It also is the Govs first regular-season series sweep over the Racers since the 1978-79 season.

In the game that was much anticipated, and will have significance is AP’s 66-59 victory at Morehead State. MSU was the OVC’s lone remaining undefeated team. Stellar Anthony Davis led the Governors with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting. APSU’s defense continued to play well, limiting the league’s top offense to 59 points. It is the sixth time in seven games Austin Peay has held an opponent below 70 points and the third straight game an opponent has failed to reach 60 points. Morehead State led the entire first half, by as much as 11 points, and 32-28 at half-time. The Governors took their first lead, 42-41, with nine minutes left in the game on a jumper by Maurice Hampton. After three more lead changes and a 46-46 tie with 6:52 left, Henning gave Austin Peay the lead for good with a free throw. He had tied the game on a jumper in the lane and was fouled on the play. Austin Peay held Morehead State, the top field goal shooting team in the league at 51.2 percent, to 43.6 percent (24-of-55), while hitting 52 percent.

The Govs now have won seven straight games all OVC wins, marking the longest winning streak under head coach Dave Loos. It also is APSU’s longest OVC winning streak since the 1976-77 team won 12 straight. Austin Peay now has won 11 straight home games, dating back to last season. AP’s last defeat came at the hands Tennessee Tech in Cookeville Tennessee, March 1st remains stenciled in the calendar as the rematch with Morehead State lies ahead in Clarksville.

Not to be outdone

Morehead State tries to cling on to their lead every time the Eagles take the court, Coach Kyle Macy tries to install his squad to take it one game at a time. Marquis Sykes’ three-point play with four seconds remaining gave the Eagles an 88-87 win over Eastern Kentucky Saturday evening in Morehead. After EKU’s Matt Witt gave the Colonels an 87-85 lead sinking one of two free throws with nine seconds remaining. Sykes fouled Witt on an inbounds play, It was MSU’s 11th team foul giving Witt two shots. He made the first, the missed the second. The Eagle’s Chad McKnight grabbed the rebound and passed to Sykes who drove and used the glass to hit the shot and was fouled. Sykes hit the free throw to make it 88-87, but the Colonels were not done.

MSU, now 17-7 overall, 11-2 in the OVC and still in first place in league standings, nearly blew a career-high 43-point effort by Ricky Minard. The game featured five more ties and four more lead changes after that with the fourth lead change coming as a result of Sykes’ game-winning three-point play. In addition to the 43 points scored by Minard, MSU also got 13 points each from Chez Marks and Sykes.

The Eagles had to rally from a 17-point second half deficit behind a career-high 38 points from Chez Marks to drop Tennessee Tech, 97-89. A Greg Morgan layup early in the second half gave the Golden Eagles a 57-40 lead. MSU then went on a 21-4 run to tie the game at 61-61 with 10:36 left. Marks had 11 points in the spurt. Two ties and three lead changes later, MSU took the lead for good at 72-71 on a three-pointer by Marquis Sykes with 6:51 left in the game. The final margin of eight points was the Eagles’ biggest lead of the game.

MSU, 16-7 overall, remains atop the OVC standings with a 10-2 league mark. Tech fell to 14-10 overall, 7-4 in the conference. Morehead State is 15th in the NCAA in scoring 3rd in field goal percentage, 12th in 3-point field goal percentage and 27th in free throw percentage. Ricky Minard ranks 31st in scoring and Chez Marks ranks 22nd in 3-point field goal percentage. MSU will continue a four-game home stand against UT Martin on Feb. 20 and Murray State on Feb. 22 before the big season ending battle with Austin Peay.

The Rest of the OVC world

Henry Domercant, who is currently the nation’s third-leading scorer, was named OVC Player of the Week after leading Eastern Illinois to three wins last week in which he scored 35, 40 and 16 points. EIU had won four in a row, and moved up to fourth in the OVC standings, before splitting their last two, while Austin Peay and Tennessee Tech continued their hot play to close in on league leader Morehead State. Domercant is the nation’s third-leading scorer with 26.8 points per game. He scored 35 in a win over Southeast Missouri, tied a career-high with 40 points in a win over Eastern Kentucky. Domercant dropped 14 of his 16 points in the second half of EIU’s upset of Morehead State.

Eastern seems to have resurrected their horrid shooting, Eastern Illinois has connected on 50.6 percent of its shots from the field during the current win streak. Freshman Josh Gomes had 18 points off the bench in the win over Morehead State. He was six-of-11 from the field and two-for-four from three-point range, with three boards and three assists in the win. He had 26 points on the week.. EIU has three games remaining in OVC play.

Eastern Kentucky

The Colonels broke a six-game conference slide with a big 79-75 road win at Southeast Missouri on Saturday. EKU has already tied the number of OVC games it won last season with much help from Shawn Fields. Fields had the two biggest back-to-back games of his collegiate career when he scored 35 in the loss to Eastern Illinois and 32 in Saturday’s win over Southeast Missouri. He jumped his scoring average two points to 15.9 with the efforts. EKU hosts TSU on Monday and plays at Morehead State on Saturday.

Murray State

It has been a tough ride for the team, which was picked to win the OVC in a preseason poll by the league’s coaches. Murray State has struggled to a 5-5 record so far in conference play. The Racers fell, 91-83, at Tennessee Tech, and, 72-69, at Austin Peay on Saturday. Senior forward James Singleton had 28 points and 14 boards in the loss at Tech, along with 12 points and six bounds against Austin Peay on Saturday. Murray State out-rebounded the Govs, 41-33, and had 21 offensive boards. The Racers return home to host Eastern Illinois on Thursday and Southeast Missouri on Saturday.

Southeast Missouri

The Indians are 9-14 overall, and 4-7 in the OVC. Southeast lost three games last week, falling at Eastern Illinois and at home to Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky. The losing streak has now reached four for the Indians. Junior forward Brandon Griffin has played his heart out for Coach Gary Garner, he has four straight double-doubles and 11 overall this season. He had 18 points and 13 rebounds at EIU, 17 points and 10 boards against Morehead State and 13 points and 12 caroms versus Eastern Kentucky last week. Griffin has registered double-digit rebounds in 16 of 23 games this year. Sophomore guard Brett Hale has made 22 consecutive free throws. He leads the league with a free-throw percentage of 94.3. Southeast plays at UT Martin and at Murray State this week


The Sky hawks are12-10 overall, and 5-6 in OVC play. The Skyhawks have won two of their last eight conference games, and only one of their last five games.

Tennessee Tech

Matching last season’s success was too difficult a task although the Golden Eagles did have 3 returning starters this season. Tech fell to 14-9 overall, and has won seven in OVC play, while dropping five. Tech had won eight of its last nine games to move into third place, before dropping their last two. TTU has four games remaining and is in fourth place currently in the OVC.

Tennessee State

I’ve had my fun at TSU’s expense, at least I thought . . . and then again when I sit back and ponder all the incidents this season one can’t help but wonder. If the 3rd (Nolan Richardson III) was still coach during the recent brawl, would he be passing out 9 millimeters to his squad, under his theory, as long as they aren’t loaded what seems to be the problem? It will be hard to determine the status of Interim Coach Hosea Lewis who’s disagreement with Richardson led to the sudden exploration of his arsenal. I think when all is said and done Teresa Phillips will meet with plenty of candidates, and possible conduct the Tennessee State Police for background, and psychological examinations to find a reasonably sound Coach.

The Tigers are now 2-21 overall with an impressive 0-12 OVC record. Their Defensive woes continued for the Tigers in losses to Austin Peay and UT Martin last week. APSU shot 62 percent from the field and UT Martin connected on 58 percent of its shots in those games. 17 are now the streak of losses that dates back to mid December. In a positive note Garrett Richardson had seven steals against Austin Peay, and he leads the OVC in that category with 2.38 per game. Richardson scored in double figures in both games last week, and he dished out 10 assists in the loss to UT Martin. TSU has four games remaining, and closes out their schedule March 1st against SEMO.


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