OVC Tournament Championship pits Colonels against Governors
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) – The second-seeded Eastern Kentucky Colonels
and the top-seeded Austin Peay Governors are set to square off in the
championship game of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, and the winning
team will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Eastern Kentucky rolled to an 18-point decision over seventh-seeded Morehead
State in the quarterfinal round before besting third-seeded Tennessee Tech
by a 57-54 final in Friday’s semifinals. The Colonels have won the OVC
title four times, the second-highest total of all current league members, and
the most recent crown was captured two years ago.
Austin Peay has won this event three times, most recently in 2003. The Govs
needed overtime to beat eighth-seeded Tennessee State on Thursday, but
Friday’s 65-55 semifinal win over fifth-seeded Samford came a bit easier.
Austin Peay won both of its meetings with Eastern Kentucky during the regular
season, and the Govs hold a 52-44 lead in the all-time series.
Eastern Kentucky played strong defense last night, limiting Tennessee Tech to
39.1 percent shooting from the field while also forcing 18 turnovers. The
Colonels finished wit 19 turnovers, but they managed to squeak out a win
despite not playing their best ball. Adam Leonard and Mike Rose deserve a
great deal of credit for the victory, as they both managed 16 points. Rose is
the leading scorer for the team this season, as he is netting 15.1 ppg.
Leonard checks in with 12.3 ppg, and Julian Mascoll is contributing 11.2 ppg
in addition to his team highs of 149 assists and 70 steals. The Colonels are
limiting opponents to 62.6 ppg.
Austin Peay led Samford by six points at intermission and stretched the
advantage to 10 points by the end of last night’s semifinal round showdown.
The Govs benefited tremendously from a 35-22 rebounding advantage, including
a 10-3 edge on the offensive glass. A 15-9 edge in points from the foul line
also helped the cause, as did the fact that they only committed six turnovers
in 40 minutes of action. Leading the way for Austin Peay in the victory was
Fernandez Lockett with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Wes Channels tallied 14
points, Drake Reed had 13 points and Derek Wright managed 10 points. Reed is
averaging 16.1 ppg this season on 53.4 percent shooting from the field, and
Lockett checks in with 11.7 ppg.