Ohio Valley Conference Quarterfinals
by Zach Van Hart
No. 1 Austin Peay vs. No. 8 Eastern Kentucky
Who would have guessed the No. 1 vs. No. 8 game would turn into the thriller of the quarterfinals? Probably not too many, especially the Governors. But when Corey Gipson’s three-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining found nothing but net, Austin Peay had escaped with an 83-80 win against EKU.
“Eastern Kentucky came in here ready to battle and they did just that,” Austin Peay head coach Dave Loos said. “I tip my hat to them. They came to play, no questions about that.
But our players dug in and battled back. At this point in the season, it’s about survival. We didn’t play our best basketball and we were able to win.”
Not by much however, as the Govs never led during the first half and saw EKU answer almost every run they managed during the second half. With seven seconds left in the game, the Colonel’s Ben Rushing nailed a three-pointer to tie the game at 80. Then during a thriller six seconds, Gipson caught the inbound pass as the Govs elected not to call timeout, raced down court, chimed to the left and fired the game winner.
No. 2 Morehead State vs. No. 7 SE Missouri State
The Ricky Minard and Chez Marks show continued for the Eagles as they defeated the Indians, 91-84. Morehead jumped out to a big first half lead and then held on for their dear lives. The Eagles led by fifteen at the break, 52-37, before SEMS charged back. Twice the Indians cut the deficit to a possession game, but never got any closer. Marks went 4-of-4 from the line during the final minute to seal the deal.
No. 3 Tennessee Tech vs. No. 6 Tennessee Martin
The league’s hottest team when cold for a bit during the second half but recovered nicely for a 76-62 win. Cameron Crisp nearly matched his 26-point performance during the Golden Eagles season finale, scoring a game-high 25 points. Senior forward Greg Morgan however turned up his game when the Eagles started to struggle. Morgan finished with fifteen points and a career high thirteen rebounds, his third double-double of the season.
No. 4 Murray State vs. No. 5 Eastern Illinois
Red-hot Cuthbert Victor scored 21 points, leading the Racers to a 74-63 victory against the Panthers, completing a three-game sweep of them for the season. Eastern’s star Henry Domercant torched the Racers for 33 points, including 23 during the second half, but to no avail. The Panthers tied the game twice during the second half, the last time at 48 all with 9:34 left. But Murray State outscored them 22-13 to finish the contest.
Up Next: Semifinals – Friday, March 7th
No. 1 Austin Peay vs. No. 4 Murray State, 7 p.m.
No. 2 Morehead State vs. No. 3 Tennessee Tech, 9:30 p.m.