Morehead State knocks off SIUE, takes aim at Austin Peay

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Defeating Southern Illinois Edwardsville in the first round of the OVC tournament is not something to brag about.

But, nonetheless, Morehead State did so by a 72-68 score.

The score is not even that impressive, but the fifth-seeded Morehead State got the job done and now faces fourth-seeded Austin Peay Thursday at 6:30 p.m.

Taking on Austin Peay is not an easy task, but it is one Morehead State is ready for.

Outside of the top four-seeded teams, Belmont, Murray State, Jacksonville State and Austin Peay, Morehead State has the best chance to make any sort of surprising run in the OVC tournament.

Eastern head coach Jay Spoonhour said Morehead State is a better team than they got credit for after the Eagles defeated Eastern in Lantz Arena Feb. 2.

The Eagles gave up a few runs to the Cougars in Wednesday’s win, but a Morehead State squad at its best is dangerous.

The main reason is the team’s leader, Jordan Walker.

Walker lit Eastern up in the Feb. 2 matchup for 30 points.

On the season, Walker is seventh in the conference averaging 15.6 points per game.

Walker is not only a great scorer, but he is also a great defender.

More than just him, the Eagles have a lot of depth and athleticism.

Malek Green, Lamontray Harris and James Baker are all forwards that can guard ball handlers near the outside and can step outside and score on offense themselves.

Green scored a game-high 23 points Wednesday, adding eight rebounds.

Walker and Baker added 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Teams often play to the level of their opponent, so in the case of the Cougars, Morehead State played down, in a sense.

But, against a sometimes inconsistent Austin Peay, the Eagles could sneak a victory.

While Morehead State would have to go through juggernaut Belmont, the Eagles have a team that can play with the best.

They have the best chance of any 5-8-seeded team to make a surprise run, and like Spoonhour said, it should be no surprise.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].