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By Rob Schabert, Assistant Athletic Director for Sports Information
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Tech found a way to fight through a tough first half, and fought its way back into contention by halftime after trailing by 15 early in the game.
The Golden Eagles, however, couldn't do it twice after slipping behind early in the second half.
Morehead State opened the second stanza with 7-0 run and stayed on top the rest of the way in claiming a 76-61 victory Thursday night in Municipal Auditorium in the quarterfinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Basketball Tournament.
Tech (17-16) was eliminated from the tourney, and could have seen its season come to a close. The Golden Eagles will await word of a possible post-season opportunity.
Morehead State (20-12) advances to the semi-finals where it will meet No. 1 seed Belmont Friday night.
Angelo Warner led MSU with 23 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals. Kareem Story added 17 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Billy Reader also scored in double figures with 10.
Josiah Moore was Tech's top scorer with 18 points, while Dwan Caldwell finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. Jeremiah Samarrippas had 10 points and five assists.
Morehead State set a furious early pace and forced Tech into numerous early turnovers on the way to a 20-5 lead in the first six minutes.
The Golden Eagles hacked into the difference and worked their way to the free throw line, eventually using eight straight free throws and basket from Moore to pull within 26-22 with 3:12 to go in the half.
Caldwell added a jumper with 1:46 to play to pull the Golden Eagles within two points, 26-24, and the contest had become a battle.
Morehead State was able to take a five-point lead into halftime, and opened the second half forcing three straight Tech turnovers that led to a 7-0 run and the lead was back to a dozen.
The Eagles kept Tech at arm's length the remainder of the game, with the lead holding in double digits. Tech came within 11 with 2L02 to play on a 3-pointer by Moore, but never got the margin under that.