Anderson wins OVC Newcomer of the Week

Jehad Abbed, Assistant Sports Editor

Junior forward Trae Anderson averaged 15 points, four rebounds and 2.5 assists through the Panthers’ two road games last week.

Anderson is in his first year at Eastern after transferring from Southwestern Illinois College, which has earned him the “newcomer” status within the Ohio Valley Conference.

He became a key part of Eastern coach Jay Spoonhour’s offense early on despite being one of the newest editions to the team.

Anderson’s scoring average has been steadily growing since the beginning of the season as he has become an offensive focal point for Eastern. He is scoring 13.1 points per game this season, but put up 19 against Austin Peay State University in Eastern’s 66-55 win.

Anderson is one of the top 15 OVC scorers in terms of points and field goal percentage this season with 23 games played. He shot 61.1 percent in the Panthers’ games last week at Austin Peay and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.

Murray State clinches OVC championship

Sophomore guard Cameron Payne scored a game-high 26 points in an overtime victory over Southeast Missouri State University on Saturday to lead the Racers to their 24th OVC championship.

Payne is the conference’s leading scorer at 19.6 points per game. He has the second most three-point field goals made at 55 over 27 games. Payne made two shots from beyond the arc on Saturday, but fouled out in 30 minutes of time on the floor.

Murray State is now 13-0 in the conference and 23-4 overall after one of its closest OVC games this season.

The Racers trailed Southeast Missouri by ten points with just more than five minutes to go in the second half before a scoring run capped off by free throws from senior guard T.J. Sapp sent the game into overtime.

The Racers went on to outscore the Redhawks by two points for the overtime win. Sapp finished the night with 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the floor. He shoots better than 82 percent from the free-throw line on the season and was 6-of-7 from the stripe on Saturday.

Sapp is the second best free-throw shooter in the conference and has a total of 74 attempts.

The Racers have a two-game home stand followed by one road game to close out their regular season schedule. Murray State hosts Austin Peay and Eastern at the CFSB Center in Murray, KY before hitting the road for the last game of the season at the University of Tennessee-Martin.

The stretch of games is the only thing that stands between the Racers and a perfect 16-0 conference record heading into the OVC tournament in Nashville.

Jehad Abbed can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].