Morehead St. Wins OVC Opener

Morehead St. Wins OVC Opener

Eagles start conference play with win for fifth time in six years.
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. -- The Morehead State men's basketball team held SIU Edwardsville to 32 percent from the floor en route to a 70-63 victory on Thursday evening at the Vadalabene Center.

The Eagles improve to 10-6 overall and 4-4 on the road, while the Cougars slip to 3-11 on the season and 3-3 at home. MSU also moves to 5-1 in the all-time series with its third straight win over SIUE.

Thursday was the Ohio Valley Conference opener for both teams. MSU has now won its first league tilt in five of the past six years. The Eagles have also already matched last year's road wins total.

"I'm certainly happy with a road win to open conference play, but I'm not thrilled with the way we played tonight," Head Coach Sean Woods said. "We didn't play very smart, and we didn't show much discipline. We need to tighten some things up on both ends of the floor before our next game."

SIU Edwardsville pulled to within four on a three-pointer with 19:40 left in the second half, but Morehead State forced the hosts into misses on eight of their next nine field-goal attempts.

The Cougars didn't connect on another basket until a three with 10:34 remaining. SIUE eventually cut the deficit to two on a pair of occasions, but MSU finished the contest on a 5-0 run.

The Eagles were whistled for 30 fouls, including 17 in the second half. Four Morehead State starters were sidelined with four infractions by the 12:08 mark of the second half.

SIU Edwardsville attempted 37 free throws, but made just 68 percent. Morehead State tried 25 free tosses and drilled 76 percent. MSU made its first 11 attempts from the foul line.

Junior Angelo Warner led Morehead State with 17 points, while senior Drew Kelly added 12. Senior Chad Posthumus, who began the day second in the nation with 12.4 rebounds per contest, pulled down a game-high 10.

Morehead State used three players off its bench for at least 20 minutes each due to the foul trouble.

"We showed some positive signs down the stretch when SIU Edwardsville made its run," Woods said. "We had several guys contribute tonight, which was encouraging. I tell our second-string guys to stay ready. We obviously needed them tonight with the foul trouble to our starters."

Sophomore Donivine Stewart paced SIU Edwardsville with 17 points, while junior Keaton Jackson chipped in with 10 points and four blocked shots.

The Eagles tallied a 41-36 advantage on the boards and 34-20 upper hand in paint points. MSU has only been outrebounded once in 16 affairs this season.

Morehead State's largest lead of 13 points came with 14:49 to play. The Eagles manufactured a 16-4 second-half run to take control and never trailed again.

"I'm not sure why, but we seemed anxious at various points tonight," Woods said. "We need to settle down and become more disciplined on both ends of the floor. We made some shots in the second half (48 percent from the field), but our execution wasn't where it needs to be as we move forward."

Morehead State continues league play on Saturday at Eastern Illinois. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. ET.

"I'm glad we fought through this one and found a way to win," Woods added. "It always feels good when you're 1-0. Saturday will be another big test for us, and we need to be ready. We want to be an OVC contender, and the league's best teams always find ways to win games on the road."
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