Cougars, Eagles pick up round one victories

OVC Tournament continues with day-two action.

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

NASHVILLE, Tenn.– There were no upsets in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference tournament Wednesday at the Municipal Auditorium.

On the women’s side, No. 2 seed Southern Illinois-Edwardsville squeaked out a 72-69 win over No. 7 seed Austin Peay.

Cougar junior Tierny Austin was fouled and converted a layup to tie the game at 69 with 58 seconds left in the second half. Austin made the free throw to give the Cougars a 70-69 lead.

Austin Peay senior Kristen Stainback missed a 3-point shot with 45 seconds left, which forced the Governors to foul Cougar red-shirt junior guard Shronda Butts. Butts made both free throws to give the Cougars a 72-69 lead.

Governor freshman Brianne Alexander’s 3-point attempt at the buzzer fell short to give the Cougars the opening round win.

Cougar coach Paul Buscher said beating a team three times is hard to do.

“Austin Peay is a really good basketball team,” she said. “It’s tough to step up and get that big win. I give a lot of credit to them, but I am proud of our team coming through at the end, especially on the boards. I thought the difference in the game was our rebounding in the second half.”

The Cougars out-rebounded the Governors 28-13 in the second half.

Despite the loss, Austin Peay head coach Carrie Daniels said it was hard fought game.

“I think anyone who watched the game saw two teams that wanted to win; that put it all out there and fought extremely hard until the final buzzer sounded,” she said. “It’s a shame that someone had to lose.”

The Cougars will play the winner of the Jacksonville State and Belmont matchup that kicked off at 1 p.m. Thursday.

On the men’s side, Morehead State defeated Southeast Missouri 79-74 in a game that went back-and-forth throughout.

No team led by more than seven points, when Morehead State led by seven points with 5:21 left in the 1st half.

Trailing by three with 3:24 left in the second half, Morehead State went on a 13-5 run to close out the game.

Morehead State senior Kareem Storey hit six free throws down the stretch to close out the game for the Eagles.

Storey finished the game with eight points. Eagles’ red-shirt senior junior Billy Reader finished the game with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor.

Reader gave credit to his teammates for all the points he scored.

“They’re responsible for a lot of my points,” he said. “I get in position, and they give me the ball so I can score. There’s no second chance now, you have to win every game. We have three more games left, and I believe in these guys.”

Morehead State will play Tennessee-Martin at 6 p.m. Thursday.

In other action Wednesday, the Eastern basketball teams’ split its games in the tournament. The women lost to Tennessee-Martin 68-35. The men defeated Edwardsville 78-66 and will play Belmont at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Finally, the Morehead State women will take on Tennessee State Thursday at approx. 3 p.m.

Bob Reynolds can be reached at [email protected] or 581-2812.