The Morehead News

MSU Sports

March 2, 2012

Men's hoops moves on to OVC Semifinals with win over JSU

March 2, 2012 — NASHVILLE -- Freshman Angelo Warner scored a career-high 18 points to lead the third-seeded Morehead State men’s basketball team to a 68-54 win over seventh-seeded Jacksonville State in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament on Thursday night at Municipal Auditorium.

The Eagles improve to 18-14 overall, while the Gamecocks end their season at 15-18.  MSU has now won nine of its last 12 games and limited 13 of its last 14 foes to less than 70 points.

Morehead State moves into the OVC semifinals, where it will face second-seeded Tennessee State on Friday at approximately 9 p.m. Top-seeded and nationally-ranked Murray State meets fourth-seeded Tennessee Tech play in the other OVC semifinal on Friday.

The Eagles, who lead the OVC in tournament winning percentage (8-3, .727) during Head Coach Donnie Tyndall’s six seasons, hit 14 of their last 16 free throws to highlight a 25-13 game-ending run.

Senior Ty Proffitt went 5-of-6 from the free-throw line in the final five minutes.  MSU finished with 77 percent efficiency (27-of-35) from the charity stripe and has now shot higher than 70 percent at the foul line in 15 of the last 17 contests.

“Tonight was a true team effort,” Tyndall said.  “I’ve said all year that my team is a resilient bunch.  We have nine or 10 guys who can step up and make plays.”

Warner knocked down 4-of-8 from the field and 8-of-10 from the free-throw stripe for the game.  He also pulled down four rebounds in 27 minutes.

“We’ve talked to Angelo all year about being in attack mode,” Tyndall said.  “He did that tonight -- and I couldn’t be any prouder of the way he played.”

Junior Milton Chavis recorded his ninth double-figure scoring game with 14 points, while freshman Deandre Mathieu added six points and team highs of four assists and three steals.

“When Milton plays smart and doesn’t turn the ball over, he’s a great help to our team,” Tyndall said.  “Give Deandre a lot of credit tonight, too.  I felt he ran our team like he wasn’t just a freshman.”

Sophomore Drew Kelly hit six free throws and scored 12 points, his 13th double-figure scoring performance in the last 14 games.  Proffitt tallied 11 points and five rebounds in the win.

The Eagles out-rebounded Jacksonville State, 29-28.  MSU committed just 10 turnovers, including limiting itself to just two mistakes over the final 20 minutes.

“JSU is a physical team and it’s a tribute to our guys to only have 10 turnovers in 40 minutes,” Tyndall said.  “I thought we met every challenge tonight.”

Junior Kahlil Owens broke a 39-all stalemate with a 15-foot jumper at the 9:26 mark of the second half and Chavis followed with an alley-oop slam off Proffitt’s assist.

Junior Tarvin Gaines sank a jumper to pull the Gamecocks to within two, but another emphatic slam by Chavis, plus a three-pointer by Warner, began MSU’s final scoring push.

The Eagles vaulted out to an 8-1 lead in the first four minutes, but the Gamecocks constructed a 17-7 run over the next nine minutes.  Gaines had seven points in the spurt.

Junior Mason Leggett’s jumper at the 6:32 mark gave JSU its first lead at 17-15.  The Eagles held a 24-22 lead at the break, holding the Gamecocks to 30 percent overall, including 0-of-10 from three-point range.

Morehead State shot 48 percent (19-of-40) from the field, while the Gamecocks hit 41 percent (17-of-42).  MSU also forced JSU into just a 3-for-21 night from three-point range.

A win on Saturday would give Morehead State its fourth consecutive title game appearance.  The Eagles won the OVC Tournament in 2009 and 2011 en route to automatic berths in the NCAA Tournament.

Friday’s affair against Tennessee State will be shown live on ESPN3.com and will be tape delayed on ESPNU at 1:30 a.m. (Saturday).

 

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