Men's Hoops Falls to Murray State After Fight to the Finish in OVC Title Game
Even after falling behind 12-2 in the first 3:13 of the OVC Championship game Saturday against Murray State, Morehead State men's basketball went to its pride and joy with a stellar defensive effort. In the end though the Eagles fell just short of their second straight tournament trophy, falling to the 22nd-ranked Racers 71-67.
Last year's tournament MVP, second-year big man Johni Broome, had his way with the Racers, scoring a career-high 32 points while grabbing eight rebounds. He went down with an injury in the middle of the second half but shook it off to nearly will his team to victory. He was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Ta'Lon Cooper, who came up with 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Broome finished the season with a school-record 131 blocked shots, just seven shy of the OVC record. That figure is third highest total in the Eagles' history. He also nearly almost made it to 1,000 career points, now with 984 in two seasons. Cooper, meanwhile, came within two assists of the program single-season record, handing out 202 on the year. He is just the second-ever Eagle to eclipse 200 helpers in a season. He also ended with a career-high four blocked shots.
Grad transfer Tray Hollowell closed out the season with a 12-point performance, all three-pointers. He finished with 87 triples on the year, the second most of the any Eagle ever in a single season. Trailing 66-61, Hollowell drilled the first of back-to-back three pointers to give the Eagle faithful hope. He then rose up and nailed a three-pointer he banked in with eight seconds left to cut it to a one-point game, 68-67.
The Eagles (23-11) weathered the early punch with a 15-0 run, eventually putting on an 18-2 scoring flurry as they pushed out to a 20-14 advantage. The teams traded buckets before settling for a 34-all halftime score.
The second half was tight throughout as neither team led by more than a two-possession game. Morehead State, however, was never able to grab the lead again. The score was tied four times, and the Eagles cut in back to one on five occasions.
The Eagles had a tough time on the rebounding glass against the Racers (30-2), being out-rebounded 47-31. KJ Williams, the OVC Player of the Year for Murray, had 10 boards, but the Eagles held him to only eight points. Tevin Brown led Murray with 23 points.
Morehead State will wait this week before finding out if it will play in a postseason event or if this will mark the finale for the 2021-22 campaign.
By Matt Schabert, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations