Sports, Thrill of Victory

OVC Tournament Day Two Preview: Can Austin Peay continue playing spoiler?

02 MAR 2016: Tennessee Tech guard Hakeem Rogers (2) defends Austin Peay guard Josh Robinson (4) in the first half of their opening round game at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire)

The first round of the 2016 OVC basketball tournament got underway on Wednesday, and from the very beginning, it was clear that the madness of March was in the air.

On the women’s side, top-seeded UT Martin was upset by No. 8 Murray State in the first game of the day, which certainly raised more than a few eyebrows to kick off the tournament action.

Chris Horton was unstoppable in Austin Peay's upset win over Tennessee Tech. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Chris Horton was unstoppable in Austin Peay’s upset win over Tennessee Tech. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

But that wasn’t the only upset on the night. Austin Peay completed the sweep for the No. 8 seeds in round one, as the Governors convincingly defeated fifth-seeded Tennessee Tech on the men’s side.

It was a wild first day at the Municipal Auditorium. And the good news is that there’s more to come.

Let’s get you caught up and tell you what you need to know heading into the quarterfinal round on Thursday.

Chris Horton steals the show with a phenomenal performance

Austin Peay senior center Chris Horton had quite the performance in his team’s upset win over the Golden Eagles.

Horton scored 37 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in what was simply an incredible display from start to finish. Tennessee Tech had no answer for him the entire night, and he scored and grabbed rebounds at will.

His 37 points tied a career-high, while his 21 boards set a new career record for him. He was also only six points away from tying the OVC tournament single-game record of 43 by Bubba Wells (the former Austin Peay star) in 1997.

Horton’s effort helped Austin Peay score its first OVC tournament win since 2011. The Govs will look to keep the momentum going against No. 4 Tennessee State in the quarterfinals.

The Tigers won the only regular season meeting between the two teams.

Murray State stays hot with win over Eastern Illinois

Despite being the No. 6 seed in the tournament, few would be surprised to see Murray State make a run all the way to the tournament final.

The Racers kept their momentum going with a dominant 78-62 win over Eastern Illinois in the first round, which gave Matt McMahon’s team its fifth win in their last six games. The only loss during that stretch was a road loss at Eastern Illinois a few weeks ago.

The reason for the win? Look no further than the 61.2% shooting from the floor, a season high for this team.

Wayne Langston had a big performance in Murray State's convincing win over Eastern Illinois in the OVC first round. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Wayne Langston had a big performance in Murray State’s convincing win over Eastern Illinois in the OVC first round. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Murray State took great shots for the majority of the night, and Wayne Langston fueled the Racers in scoring 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the floor.

Up next for Murray State is a showdown with No. 3 Morehead State in the second quarterfinal game on Thursday. The two teams played only once during the regular season, with the Racers scoring a 62-57 home win back in early January.

Two more first round games on women’s side

Murray State and Belmont are already into Friday’s semifinal games on the women’s side, but two more first round games will be played on Thursday.

Game one will feature No. 4 Eastern Kentucky against No. 5 Austin Peay, while the afternoon game will see SIU Edwardsville go up against Southeast Missouri State.

If the Racers’ first day upset of regular season champion UT Martin was any indication of what’s to come on the women’s side of the bracket, this could be another fun batch of games.

Updated OVC tournament men’s bracket

Quarterfinals (Thursday, March 3)

No. 4 Tennessee State vs. No. 8 Austin Peay – 6 PM CT on OVC Digital Network

No. 3 Morehead State vs. No. 6 Murray State – 8 PM CT on OVC Digital Network

Semifinals (Friday, March 4)

No. 1 Belmont vs. TSU/APSU winner – 6:30 PM CT on ESPNU

No. 2 UT Martin vs. Morehead/Murray winner – 8:30 PM CT on ESPNU

Govs fans are hoping that their team can keep the momentum going against TSU on Thursday. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Govs fans are hoping that their team can keep the momentum going against TSU on Thursday. PHOTO BY MATTHEW MAXEY

Finals (Saturday, March 5)

Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner – 5 PM CT on ESPN2

Updated OVC tournament women’s bracket

First Round (Thursday, March 3)

No. 4 Eastern Kentucky vs. No. 5 Austin Peay – 12 PM CT on OVC Digital Network/ESPN3

No. 3 SIUE vs. No.6 SEMO – 2 PM CT on OVC Digital Network/ESPN3

Semifinals (Friday, March 4)

No. 8 Murray State vs. EKU/APSU winner – 12 PM CT on OVC Digital Network/ESPN3

No. 2 Belmont vs. SIUE/SEMO winner – 2 PM CT on OVC Digital Network/ESPN3

Finals (Saturday, March 5)

Semifinal 1 winner vs. Semifinal 2 winner – 12 PM CT on OVC Digital Network/ESPN3

Sports and Entertainment Nashville will be live at the OVC tournament all this week. Follow @SENashville and @theblakelovell on Twitter for continuous updates on all the action!

[espro-slider id=11757]