Tennessee Tech crashed the party and is one win away from reaching the Big Dance.
The fourth-seeded Golden Eagles pulled off an upset on Friday night when they knocked off top-seed Murray State with a 64-59 victory in the semifinals of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament at Municipal Auditorium.
Tennessee Tech (20-11) will play Morehead State in the championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday (ESPN2). The league’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament will be up for grabs in that contest.
Murray State, on the other hand, most likely will not receive its 15th NCAA bid. The Racers (23-8), who upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year, captured the regular-season conference championship and are guaranteed a bid to the NIT.
The Golden Eagles blew a 10-point lead as Murray State went ahead 53-51 with 3:03 left. But Tennessee Tech battled back as Jud Dillard scored four straight points for a two-point edge and Zac Swansey nailed a 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining for an insurmountable 60-55 lead.
Kevin Murphy led the Golden Eagles with 19 points, Dillard added 14 and Swansey had eight points and 11 assists.
Ivan Aska had 15 points off the bench for Murray State.
• No. 2 Morehead State 68, No. 3 Austin Peay 49: Kenneth Faried tied a tournament record with eight blocks, to go along with 21 rebounds and 12 points as Morehead State pulled away in the second half to reach the title game.
The OVC’s player of the year and the nation’s leading rebounder was also 6-of-8 from the field as the Eagles (23-9) will try to reach their second NCAA Tournament and first since 2008. Morehead State was led by Demonte Harper, who scored 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and a 7-of-10 effort at the free-throw line.
Justin Blake had 13 points for Austin Peay (20-13).
• No. 2 Tennessee-Martin 79, No. 3 Morehead State 69: Freshman Perica Glenn scored a career-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for her first career double-double to lead Tennessee-Martin into the tournament championship game.
The Skyhawks (20-10) will play top-seeded Tennessee Tech at 3 p.m. Saturday for an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Heather Butler added 21 points and Jasmine Newsome had 20 for Tennessee-Martin. For Morehead State (21-10), OVC player of the year Chynna Bozeman scored 25 points and Ashar Harris had 15 rebounds to go along with 11 points.
• No. 1 Tennessee Tech 65, No. 5 Austin Peay 56: Tacarra Hayes and Rachel Glidden each score 20 points as Tennessee Tech pulled away from Austin Peay.
Hayes also grabbed 11 rebounds and the Golden Eagles (23-6) rebounded from blowing a nine-point first half lead. Nicole Olszewski scored 14 points for the Lady Govs (15-18).