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Ohio Valley Semifinals

March 8, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Ohio Valley Conference Semifinals

by Zach Van Hart

No. 1 Austin Peay vs. No. 4 Murray State

The Governors barely escaped an upset for the second straight game, this time needing an extra five minutes to finish the job. But after two nail bitters, they are exactly where they were expected to be – in the conference finals.

Austin Peay withstood a resilient Racer team through 40 minutes and more en route to a 59-56 win, propelling them into the OVC Tourney Finals, one game away from a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Both teams played two equal halves, going into halftime tied at 28 and into overtime tied at 51. The game featured eleven ties and nine lead changes, as neither team could gain an advantage for an extended period of time.

The Governors did take an eleven point lead, 48-37, with ten minutes remaining. But then they went cold, making one field goal the rest of the half. The Racers slowly chipped away at the lead, finally retying the game on a James Singleton dunk with 2:27 to go in regulation.

In overtime, Murray State clung to a one-point lead with only 60 seconds remaining when Josh Lewis struck the decisive blows for the Govs. Lewis made a layup with 50 ticks left, giving Austin Peay a 57-56 lead. Then, as the Racers worked for the last shot, Lewis blocked Cuthbert Victor’s shot with six seconds left to seal the deal.

Anthony Davis lead the Govs with sixteen points, followed by Lewis’ fifteen and Rhet Wierzba, who scored ten.

Victor scored 22 points and grabbed eleven rebounds for the Racers, but in the end came up one basket short of the upset.

No. 2 Morehead State vs. No. 3 Tennessee Tech

Consider Mission No. 1 accomplished for the Golden Eagles. They pushed their win streak to six games in convincing fashion, 88-71 against No. 2 Morehead State. With one upset in the bag, they now move on to the tourney finals where top dog Austin Peay awaits.

Friday night, it was the three-headed monster of Cameron Crisp, Damien Kinloch and Brent Jolly that lead to the easy win.

Crisp scored team-high 22 points, Kinloch netted 21 points and grabbed a team-high ten rebounds and Jolly contributed seventeen points, as the Eagles withstood a late Morehead rally to hold on.

After leading by double digits for a majority of the second half, Tennessee Tech watched its lead fall to two points, 51-49, with plenty of time remaining. But then senior Antwyon Jones connected on a jumper and Jolly buried a three-pointer, and Morehead never threatened again.

Jolly connected on 3-of-4 from downtown and Crisp hit 4-of-6 from beyond the arc, which proved to be the difference.

Now the Golden Eagles turn around and go for upset No. 2 against the No. 1 seed in the tournament, with a NCAA Tourney bid on the line.

Next up, conference finals

No. 1 Austin Peay vs. No. 3 Tennessee Tech

Saturday at 4 p.m. – ESPN2


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