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Win streak snapped as Morehead State tops Tech, 76-60

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Tech was prepared for just about anything Morehead State brought to town Saturday night, but the Golden Eagles never figured freshman Drew Kelly would be the difference-maker.

Kelly nearly doubled his previous career-high (12) with 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to power sthe visiting Eagles to a 76-60 victory over Tech in the Eblen Center, lifting Morehead State (17-8/9-4 OVC) into a tie for second place with Austin Peay in the Ohio Valley Conference standings, one-half game behind Murray State (9-3 OVC). It was Morehead State's fifth consecutive win.

The Golden Eagles saw their thre-game win streak end as their records moved to 12-10 overall and 8-5 in the league.

Tech put the clamps on preseason OVC Player of the Year Kenneth Faried, holding the likely NBA draftee to 11 points and seven rebounds. But Kelly, Terrance Hill and Demonte Harper picked up the slack.

Kelly was 7-for-10 from the field and 6-for-7 at the line on his way to hitting 21 for the Eagles. Hill added 17 points and Harper finished with 10 points, five rebounds and eight assists.

Kevin Murphy was the only Golden Eagle in double figures for Tech on a night when nine different players contributed points. Murphy finished with 13 points and five boards. Bassey Inameti, who only returned to action recently following a preseason injury, added eight points, five rebounds and two blocked shots.

It was tight throughout the first 13 minutes, with the score tied five times and the largest lead being three points. Morehead State edged ahead by eight, 24-16, following baskets by Harper and Kelly, but Tech answered with a 9-2 run that trimmed the difference back to a single point, 26-25.

MSU took a 30-27 lead into halftime.

Tech was able to tie the game one more time early in the second half at 34-34 on a 3-pointer by Zach Bailey, but Morehead took control for good as Hill scored the next five points.

The Eagles maintained a margin just under double figures for six minutes, then broke the barrier and went up by 11 on two free tosses by Hill with 9:05 to play. From there, the difference continued to grow, reaching 20 points with one minute remaining.

The Golden Eagles, the top shooting team  in the OVC, could only muster 38.5 percent accuracy on a 25-for-65 performance. Tech was 7-for-15 at the free throw line.

Morehead State hit 44.8 percent (26-for-58) from the field, including 61.5 percent in the second half (16-for-26). The Eagles paraded to the free throw line 32 times, going 21-for-32.

Tech did own a 45-39 advantage in rebounds, but yielded 17 turnovers compared with just 10 by Morehead State.

Tech wraps up its brief three-game homestand on Monday when it hosts Austin Peay at 7 p.m.