Unbeaten Belmont in 1st place in OVC

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

There are two men’s basketball teams in the OVC that remain unbeaten in conference play, but only one that has played multiple conference games without a loss.

That team is Belmont, and an 8-0 record to begin OVC play puts them solidly atop the conference standings. The other unbeaten team is Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, but the Cougars are only 1-0 in conference play and have not played since Dec. 18, 2020.

Belmont and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville are scheduled to play Saturday.

The Bruins have earned their 8-0 conference record and 14-1 overall record by being one of just three OVC teams to average more than 80 points per game on offense and one of just five teams in the conference to allow less than 70 points per game.

Belmont’s offense ranks second, averaging 81.5 points per game while allowing 68.9 points per game, the fourth-best mark in the OVC.

The OVC’s leading offense belongs to Eastern Kentucky, which is averaging 82.1 points per game. The Colonels are in third place in the OVC and have a conference record of 6-1.

The best defense in the conference is Morehead State’s, which is surrendering just 63.7 points per game. The Eagles have ridden this defense to fourth place in the standings and a 6-2 conference record.

The only team to rank in the top three in the OVC in both offense and defense is Murray State. The Racers rank third in both categories, averaging 80.1 points per game while allowing 68 points per game. Despite this, Murray State is tied for seventh in the OVC with a conference record of 2-4.

Eastern just cracks the top half of the OVC in offense, ranking sixth with an average of 72.8 points per game. The Panthers’ defense has not fared as well, ranking 10th in the OVC allowing 76.4 points per game.

The Panthers are tied for seventh place in the conference with an OVC record of 2-4.

Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor continues to lead the OVC in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 21.2 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game. He is averaging 3.6 points and 3.4 rebounds more than the next closest player in each category, which is Eastern Kentucky’s Tre King in both instances.

King was also named OVC Co-Player of the Week after scoring 24 points and gathering 6 rebounds against Eastern on Jan. 16.

The other Co-Player of the Week was Belmont’s Ben Sheppard, who averaged 18.5 points per game in two games last week.

Eastern’s highest-ranked scorer is senior guard Josiah Wallace, who is averaging 17.5 points per game to rank third in the OVC. Wallace’s fellow Panther Marvin Johnson ranks 12th in the OVC in scoring 13.4 points per game.

Johnson also ranks sixth in the conference in assists per game with 4.3.

 

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