Conference play starting for several OVC teams

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

The first conference game for the OVC tipped off Monday evening between Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky, with Eastern Kentucky winning 71-68.

Over the next two weeks, every OVC team is scheduled to begin conference play with an abbreviated non-conference schedule and expanded conference season giving a new look to the 2020-21 season.

Each OVC team except Tennessee State, which had to pause team activities because of COVID-19 cases in the program, have played multiple games so far this season and the results have been mixed, albeit against a wide array of opponents.

Overall, the OVC is a combined 22-22 to start out, with some commanding wins against lower-level schools and near-upsets against some of the top teams in the nation.

Murray State, which is 2-1 and will face Austin Peay (3-1) Tuesday in a major early-season OVC matchup, came out swinging in its first game of the season against Greenville on Nov. 29.

The Racers put up a school-record 173 points, which was tied for the fourth-most in NCAA Division I history.

Due in large part to that game, they lead the conference in points per game this season averaging 103.3.

Austin Peay also had an eye-popping win against Carver College, winning 103-38 on Dec. 4.

These games did of course come against lesser opponents, but several OVC teams have performed well against programs that often are among the top teams in Division I.

Eastern Kentucky nearly beat Xavier, which received votes in the latest AP Poll, pushing the Musketeers to overtime. The Colonels ended up losing 99-96.

Eastern almost upset a major program as well, losing to Dayton 66-63 on Dec. 1. The Flyers ended last season ranked No. 3. in the nation but are unranked this season.

Individually, Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor is leading the OVC in scoring among players who have played multiple games. He is averaging 19.5 points per game and is tied with Belmont’s Luke Smith in that category.

Eastern’s Josiah Wallace is fifth in the conference averaging 17 points per game.

Taylor also leads the conference in rebounding, averaging 12 per game. Eastern’s George Dixon ranks fifth with 8 rebounds per game.

Dixon also ranks fifth in offensive rebounds with his Panther teammate Sammy Friday IV ranking third in that category.

 

Adam Tumino can be raeched at 581-2812 or [email protected]