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Ohio Valley Notebook

February 25, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Ohio Valley Conference Notebook

by Zach Van Hart

Down but not out

The Austin Peay Governors lost a chance at the outright OVC regular season title last week, but still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament. The Governors saw their nine-game winning streak come to a halt Thursday night when they lost on the road to Eastern Illinois, 80-76. Austin Peay did recover to knock off SE Missouri State, 63-56, Saturday. The split of games brought their record to 18-7 overall and 11-3 in the OVC. The loss however guaranteed Morehead State, owners of a 13-2 conference mark, of at least a share of the regular season crown. However, the two teams meet to finish the season this Saturday in Clarksville. If the Governors win Wednesday against Eastern Kentucky and against the Eagles Saturday, they not only will share the crown with Morehead, but also receive the No. 1 seed for the OVC Tournament, thanks to a season sweep of the Eagles.

Thursday night, Austin Peay could not hold on to a five-point halftime lead. Nine second half turnovers were the downfall for the Governors. “It was not so much what they did to us as it was what we did to ourselves,” head coach Dave Loos said. “We just didn’t take care of the basketball in the second half, we had way too many turnovers. We also didn’t make our free throws. That was the difference in the game.”

Austin Peay shot just 8-of-14 from the charity stripe during the final 20 minutes. It all added up an “L” for the Govs. They never led during the final 10:37 minutes despite coming close several times. They trimmed the deficit to one point with just 71 seconds left. But Eastern Illinois made all eight of its free throw attempts during the final 44 seconds to secure the win.

The Govs though recovered Saturday against the Indians, just in the nick of time. SE Missouri State led 49-48 with less than six minutes remaining, before Austin Peay went to work. They finished the game on a 15-7 run. While they did commit nineteen turnovers, they compensated this by shooting 25-of-44 from the field.

“At halftime I told our guys to reach down and find a way,” Loos said. “That’s what they did. Again, we had way too many turnovers-it caught up with us at Eastern Illinois and we were lucky it didn’t tonight.”

As good as Kinloch is

So far this February, Tennessee Tech is as good as Damien Kinloch is. The senior forward is averaging 16.3 points per game this season, but during the past seven games his performance has been the determinant factor in if the Golden Eagles win or lose. During the Eagles three losses during February, Kinloch has scored fifteen, fifteen and twelve, averaging fourteen per loss. However, during their four wins, he has scored 20, 22, 20 and 25, averaging 21.8 per contest.

Last week, Tech defeated Eastern Kentucky, 76-68, before whipping hapless Tennessee State, 101-72. Against EKU, Kinloch scored 20 points, going 6-of-9 from the field and 8-of-13 from the free throw line. He also grabbed twelve rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Against Tennessee State, Kinloch scored a season-high 25 points. He made a living at the free throw line, going 13-of-18. The two wins left the Eagles alone in third place with a 16-11 overall record and a 9-5 OVC mark.

Back to normalcy

Saturday’s loss to Tennessee Tech was a return to normalcy for the Tennessee State Tigers. There was no bench-clearing brawl resulting in nineteen player ejections. There was no milestones set because of who coached the team. Instead, the Tigers just did what they have done all season – lose a conference game. After the 29-point thumping, TSU falls to 2-22 overall and 0-13 in OVC play. In a season many soon hope to forget, the Tigers have three more chances to crack the win column in conference play. They face Murray State Monday night, Eastern Illinois Thursday night and finish with SE Missouri State Saturday night.

And the bronze medal goes to . . .

It appears Eastern Illinois’ superstar senior Henry Domercant is going to finish third in the nation in scoring for all of Division I. With two games left during the regular season, Domercant is averaging 26.8 points per game. He trails New Mexico’s Ruben Douglas and Oakland’s Mike Helms. Interesting side note – the nation’s top eight scores are all guards. The top frontcourt scorer in Division I is Seth Doliboa from Wright State.

More of the same

The conference’s leader racked up two more wins last week, earning an entire week to prep for the biggest game of the season. Morehead State defeated Tennessee Martin and Murray State last week to improve to 19-7 overall and 13-2 in the OVC. The latter of the two wins guaranteed a share of the OVC regular season crown. They only have one game remaining, Saturday at Austin Peay. If the Governors win against Eastern Kentucky Wednesday, then Saturday’s game will be for the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

Game to watch

Morehead State at Austin Peay, Saturday at 8:30 p.m.

Is there anything that needs to be said for this game? Even if the Governors lose Wednesday against Eastern Kentucky, this is still a battle of the league’s two best teams and a possible preview of the conference tournament title game, which will determine which OVC team goes to the big dance. And if Austin Peay does win Wednesday, it will determine if Morehead wins the regular season crown outright and who will earn the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament.


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