Morehead State's men's basketball team set the program record for Ohio Valley Conference victories and locked in the No. 2 seed for next week's conference tournament with a 74-60 triumph over Tennessee State at Johnson Arena.
The Eagles (19-7 overall) improved to 16-3 in league games in 2020-21, besting the previous OVC wins mark of 15 set by the 2009-10 squad. MSU earned the league's second seed for the first time since 2010-11 and will play a yet-to-be-determined opponent in the opening round Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. ET at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. The format has changed back to a traditional three-round with no byes for this season due to not all games being played in the league ledger.
Senior forward James Baker, playing in his penultimate game at home, led the Eagles with a season-high tying 15 points while also collecting a season-best four of the OVC's top shot blocking team's season-best 12 rejections.
Junior guard DeVon Cooper reached double-figures for the 20th time this year with 14 points, while namesake (but not related) sophomore guard Ta'lon Cooper notched 12 points. Freshman forward Johni Broome fought off constant double teams by the TSU defense to still lead all players with 13 rebounds while scoring nine points. It was his 11th double-figure rebound game.
The Eagles weathered an incredible stats night from TSU guard Mark Freeman, who led all players with 30 points. MSU did, however, limit Freeman to no points in the final nine minutes.
- MSU saw the Tigers cut the deficit to just 39-35 with 17:24 left, buy an ensuing technical foul on TSU gave the home team a pair of successful free throws, and MSU outscored its foe 7-2 in the next minute to push ahead again by nine.
- TSU had the game back within 62-55 with less than seven to play, but a three-pointer by junior guard Skyelar Potter thwarted another TSU rally try.
- In fact, Morehead State held TSU scoreless from 7:23 to 3:13, running off an 8-0 run to lead by 15 at 70-55.
- A three-pointer in the corner by sophomore forward Julius Dixon at 1:14 gave the hosts the largest lead at 74-57.
- In the first half, Ta'lon Cooper's layup at 12:05 catapulted MSU into a 14-4 advantage.
- MSU finished at exactly 50 percent from the floor (26-of-52) for its 10th game shooting 50 percent or higher. Eight of those performances have come against OVC competition.
- MSU just edged the Tigers on the glass, 40-39. It's the 19th time this group of Eagles has out-rebounded its opponent.
- With Broome being hounded early, junior forward LJ Bryan came off the bench to boost the Eagles. He finished with five rebounds, four points and a career-high three blocked shots in just 13 minutes.
- MSU shot a season-high in three-point accuracy tonight, hitting 7-of-12 (.583.)
- The Eagles are now 11-0 this season when holding an opponent to 60 points or less.