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Morehead State captures OVC title, gains NCAA tourney

Mar 6, 2011 - 4:47 AM Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Demonte Harper turned in 27 points and 11 rebounds as Morehead State earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament with an 80-73 victory over Tennessee Tech in the playoff finale of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Kenneth Faried tallied 24 points with 15 boards for the Eagles (24-9), who put a loss to Murray State in last season's OVC championship game behind them by claiming their fourth conference crown.

Terrance Hill had 16 points for Morehead State, which earned its second trip in three years to America's top college basketball tourney.

Kevin Murphy's game-high 30 points weren't enough for the Golden Eagles (20-12), who toppled top-seeded Murray State on Friday to gain the title contest. Jud Dillard notched 10 points with seven rebounds in defeat.

Liam McMorrow's free throw got the Golden Eagles within 39-36 just over five minutes into the second half, but Hill's triple started a 16-5 run which saw the Eagles take a 55-41 edge with 10:20 to play.

Faried hit one from the line to make it 68-53 with 3:41 left, but TTU responded with a 12-1 burst to come within 69-65 on a Zac Swansey deuce with 1:49 showing.

A Faried slam was answered by two from the line by Murphy and it was a four- point spread once more as 71 seconds remained. Faried and Hill then sank all four of their free-throw tries on the next two touches to increase the MSU margin to eight and the Eagles cruised home.

Morehead State never trailed in the first half. An early 10-2 run gave the victors a 19-11 edge on a Ty Proffitt jumper. The lead reached 32-22 on Proffitt's trey but TTU got back to 34-27 at the break on another three from Swansey.

Game Notes

Morehead State won its fourth conference title, with other wins coming in 1983-84 and 2009...Tennessee Tech failed in its bid to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1963...Faried posted his 27th double- double of the year...Harper added eight assists.