MOREHEAD, Ky. – Angelo Warner's layup with nine seconds remaining proved to be the game-winner as Morehead State pulled out a heart-stopping 65-63 Ohio Valley Conference victory over Tennessee Tech Saturday night in Johnson Arena.
A closely-challenged 3-point shot by Jud Dillard four seconds earlier missed the mark, and MSU's Devon Atkinson got the rebound and fed Warner at the other end. Dillard, who was knocked to the floor on his shot, picked himself up off the hardwood, raced downcourt and was charged with a foul on Warner's basket.
The ensuing free throw missed, and Tech's final attempt, a long 3-point try from Jeremiah Samarrippas, hit the rim and the clock expired.
It was a frustrating finish for coach Steve Payne's team that had a two-point lead into the final minute of a game that was tied 11 times.
Dillard shook off a first half shooting hex (0-for-5 at the break) and scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half to finish with his 10th double-double of the year along with 11 rebounds. Samarrippas finished with 14 points and four assists.
Dennis Ogbe was arguably the best player on the court. Trouble is, he wasn't on the court nearly enough, thanks to foul trouble that eventually benched him with three minutes remaining and Tech on top by one hard-earned point. He was 4-for-4 and finished with nine points.
Big-man Chad Posthumous backed his way into the basket and led Morehead with 13 points, nearly all on close-in hook shots. He also had nine rebounds. Warner finished with 12 while Kahlil Owens added nine points and seven rebounds.
The Golden Eagles led for the first 16 minutes of the game, going up by as many as 10 points with a 14-4 lead with 11:19 remaining in the half. A 3-pointer by center Drew Kelly with 4:16 to play tied the game at 21-21, and Morehead went on top for the first time, 24-22, on another bomb, this one from Jarrett Stokes with 2:49 left.
Those 3-pointers came in a 9-2 MSU run that lifted the home team to a seven-point lead, 29-22, before the period closed with the MSU Eagles on top, 29-26. A basket by Jud Dillard at the buzzer, originally ruled good on the floor, was taken off the board when officials reviewed the replay.
The Golden Eagle shot a paltry 20.4 percent in the first half, going 5-for-17 including misses on all five 3-point tries.
Neither team could gain much of an advantage in the second half, with the largest difference being a three-point lead for Tech and a four-point edge for MSU.
Dillard made two free throws with 3:15 to play for a 58-57 Tech lead, and Posthumous knocked down a shot with 2:55 left for a 59-58 MSU lead.
A free throw by Matt Marseille tied things for the ninth time with 2:32 to play and Posthumous canned another easy shot with 2:08 left for a 61-59 Eagle lead.
Samarrippas hit a jumper with 1:48 left to tie things again, and Terrell Barnes stole a pass for the Golden Eagles and Samarrippas lofted a floater over Posthumous for a 63-61 Tech lead with 1:17 left.
Posthumous grabbed a missed 3-point try by Atkinson with 50 seconds left, and converted the tip-in to tie things one final time with 44 seconds left.
That set the stage for Dillard's 3-point try. He appeared to be fouled at the top of the key, but no call was made and Morehead notched the game-winner.
The Golden Eagles are finished with road games for the regular season, and come home to Eblen Center for their final four games. On Thursday night, Tech hosts UT Martin in an OVC contest, then entertains UM Kansas City Saturday for a non-conference BracketBuster game. Tipoff for both games is slated for 7 p.m.
Call or visit the Athletics Ticket Office in Eblen Center (931-372-3940) for tickets.