Defense Wins For Morehead State in Semifinal:Hot and Latest News
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Defense Wins For Morehead State in Semifinal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It’s been said many times that defense wins championships. An odd variation of that them showed up in Friday night’s first semifinal game of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, one that featured the conference’s Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year on opposing squads. In the end, the squad with the latter player came out on top.
In Morehead State’s 63-55 win over UT Martin on Friday in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament semifinal, Kenneth Faried was the story. The sophomore from Newark, New Jersey had 22 points and 17 rebounds, but the numbers don’t do his game justice, and that’s not just because on the other side, Lester Hudson had 34 points and 10 rebounds. The reality is that no one was bigger than Faried in this victory.
Early on, UT Martin had the lead, but Morehead State was able to hang in there. Once they got the lead, they would keep it there as Faried scored and used his length on defense. The Eagles rode Faried and their defense, a staple of the team all season, to a lead that would at one point reach 30-19. They wanted this game more, and Faried was at the center of it.

“Our M.O. all season long has been toughness, defending and rebounding,” said head coach Donnie Tyndall. “We led our league in defensive field goal percentage and we led our league in rebounding margin as well as being in the top five or ten in rebounding margin.”
The second half was more of the same. Faried was all over the court, hitting a jumper and tipping in a miss to help the Eagles build a 40-30 lead. When a couple of Skyhawks besides Hudson finally showed signs of life and got within 41-40, Faried got a layup to start a decisive 7-0 run in a stretch that also saw him grab two defensive rebounds. He grabbed more rebounds late as well, for good measure, to help seal the game.
“Kenneth, it seemed, went and rebounded every ball in the last six or eight minutes and was on the rim every time,” Tyndall said.
Tyndall’s opposite number had a more succinct way of describing it.
“We did not really have an answer for him tonight, unfortunately,” said UT Martin head coach Bret Campbell, who admitted he was more upset that Hudson got no help from his teammates.
Morehead State won Friday night’s game by simply wanting it more. That’s what led to the numbers in the box score that jump out, like a 40-27 edge on the boards (including 18 of their 34 misses) and just 10 turnovers while holding the Skyhawks to 37.5 percent from the field. And Faried was far from a one-man show, although he was the best player on the floor, as he had good support up front from Maze Stallworth (13 points, six rebounds) and Leon Buchanan (nine points, five rebounds, three assists).
All year long, the Eagles have won games in this way. With another such effort on Saturday, it’s possible they could punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 25 years.


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