Demonte Harper and Kenneth Faried each had double-doubles as Morehead State defeated Tennessee Tech 80-73 on Saturday and won the Ohio Valley Conference basketball tournament at Municipal Auditorium.
Harper finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds. Faried had 24 points and 15 rebounds.
The two combined for Morehead’s first 15 points.
Harper, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, made a layup that broke a 9-9 tie and put his team ahead to stay. His dunk with 1:26 left in the contest started a 6-2 run after and effectively put the game out of reach Tennessee Tech had closed to within four.
Second seeded Morehead State (24-9) led by seven at halftime (34-27) and the advantage grew to as many as 15 points over the final 20 minutes.
Tennessee Tech (20-12), the No. 4 seed, got a game-high 30 points from Kevin Murphy
Tennessee-Martin 82, Tennessee Tech 76
Jasmine Newsome scored 24 points and Heather Butler added 21 as Tennessee-Martin won the OVC women’s tournament championship for the first time.
“I know that we proved people wrong, people that doubted us from the get-go," Newsome said. "Now we want to prove more people wrong by winning a game in the NCAA tournament."
Newsome’s jumper with 11:30 to play in the first half started a 14-4 run, which broke a 10-10 tie and put the Skyhawks ahead to stay. The freshman scored the first five points in that run and six in all.
Martin (21-10) led by nine at halftime, 34-25, and stretched its advantage to as many as 17 (50-33) during the final 20 minutes in its first appearance in the championship game since 1999.
Tennessee Tech (23-7) made three 3-pointers, two by Briana Jordan, in the final 32 seconds, but UT-Martin counteracted any potential rally as four players were a combined 10-for-10 from the foul line over the final 2:09.
The contest was a matchup between the top two seeds. The teams split the regular-season series as each won on its home floor, but Tech won the regular-season title – and the top seed in the tournament – by one game.
Newsome, Butler and Jessica Haislip – all freshmen – each played the entire 40 minutes. Newsome and Butler each had four assists. Haislip scored just two points but had a game-high nine rebounds.
Tennessee Tech’s Tacarra Hayes led all scorers with 33 points, capped by a 3-pointer with two seconds to play.
"We went out and recruited some kids that shared the same dream that we had," UT-Martin coach Kevin McMillan said. "... What you get from that is they don’t get rattled. They don’t know that they are supposed to get rattled. They just keep playing, they just keep playing and they just keep playing.
"They don’t have a clue what they’ve done, but it’s refreshing when you see kids like that."