Belmont still dominating OVC

Adam Tumino, Editor-in-Chief

With less than three weeks left in the regular season, time is running out for the Eastern men’s basketball team to climb back into an OVC Tournament spot.

The standings have remained mostly stagnant lately, especially at the top where Belmont continues to be the best team in the conference.

The Bruins are 14-0 in conference play this season and 20-1 overall and have won their last 26 OVC games in a row dating back to last season.

Belmont’s average margin this season is +15.9 points per game, a number which is actually more impressive in conference play, where it sits at +18.9 points per game. The Bruins also hold the top offense in the OVC (83.4 points per game) and the third-ranked defense (68.1 points per game).

Eastern Kentucky ranks second in offense, scoring 82.6 points per game while Murray State joins Belmont as the only two teams to rank in the top three in both offense and defense this season. The Racers rank third in offense, scoring 77.1 points per game, and second in defense, allowing 67.3 points per game.

Morehead State owns the OVC’s top defense, allowing just 62.6 points per game. This defense has helped the Eagles reach second place in the OVC with a conference record of 12-2.

Eastern ranks in the top half of the conference in offense, ranking sixth with an average of 68.7 points per game. Defense has let the Panthers down at times, ranking 10th in the conference allowing 74.9 points per game.

Defensive struggles paired with an eight-game losing streak earlier in the season has landed the Panthers in 10th place with a conference record of 4-10, though they have won two of their last three games.

Tennessee State is still in last place with a conference record of 2-12. The Tigers are eighth in the conference in scoring margin at -4.8 points per game, but most of these close games have not gone their way.

Individually, Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor continues to lead the OVC in scoring and rebounding by relatively wide margins. He is averaging 21.4 points per game, 5.2 more than the second-place player, and 10.9 rebounds per game, 2.5 more than the next-closest player.

Taylor was named OVC Player of the Week this past week for the 16th time in his career, passing former Morehead State star Kenneth Faried for the most in the conference’s history.

Eastern’s leading scorer remains senior guard Josiah Wallace, who ranks eighth in the OVC averaging 14.8 points per game. But his fellow senior guard Marvin Johnson is closing the gap. He now ranks ninth in the conference in scoring with 14.7 points per game. He also ranks third in assists per game (4.6) and 14th in the conference in rebounds per game (5.5).

 

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