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Quick Start, Strong Finish Propels Men's Hoops to OVC Tournament Win

Quick Start, Strong Finish Propels Men's Hoops to OVC Tournament Win
Taylor Johnson / msueagles.com
Quick Start, Strong Finish Propels Men's Hoops to OVC Tournament Win

An 11-0 spurt to the open the game and a 15-4 run in the second half was enough for the Morehead State men's basketball team to knock off seventh-seeded Tennessee Tech 73-56 in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals at the Ford Center Thursday night.

The No. 3-seed Eagles improved to 22-10 with their fourth straight OVC Tournament win and fifth straight overall win over Tech, which finished the season 11-21. MSU won all three matchups with the Golden Eagles this season. The Eagles move on to face No. 2 Belmont Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The teams split this season after also doing the same last year before MSU knocked off the Bruins in the title game in Evansville.

MSU got consecutive three-pointers from Jaylon Hall, Skyelar Potter and Ta'Lon Cooper, another bucket from Hall and two early blocked shots from Johni Broome to start the game 11-0 in the first 2:06.

The Eagles withstood a Tech scoring push throughout the first half as TTU eventually cut it to 29-26 after a Jr. Clay three-ball with 3:54 left in the half. But, Tray Hollowell canned a triple of his own with three seconds left as MSU led 32-26 at the break.

A five-minute span early in the second half saw MSU go on its 15-4 run to push a 35-30 game out to 50-34 with 11 minutes left. MSU never was threatened after that, eventually leading by as much as 22 (67-45) with 3:19 left after another Potter triple.

Four of the five MSU starters finished with double-figure scoring, led by Broome with 15 points. He also grabbed nine rebounds and blocked three shots. He now has 126 blocks this year, the third best single-season total in program history. Cooper, Potter and Hall (making his second start) combined to hit 8-of-16 from outside the arc and scored 14 points each. Hollowell drained three triples, giving him 83 for the season. That's also the third-best single-season total in program history.

Morehead State only hit 39 percent for the game, but also only committed seven turnovers and had 17 assists. Cooper dished out seven helpers, giving him 192 for the year and moving him to second place on the program's single-season list. The record is 204.

By Matt Schabert, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations