Harper Leads Morehead Past UT Martin

MOREHEAD, Ky. - Demonte Harper scored a career-high 22 points to lead Morehead State to an 80-71 Ohio Valley Conference win over UT Martin Thursday (Dec. 4) evening in Johnson Arena.

The Eagles (2-6, 1-0 OVC) have now won two in a row after opening the season with six consecutive losses. UT Martin is now 2-4 overall, 0-1 in the league.

Harper also had game-high totals of five assists, two blocked shots and four steals. MSU also got 16 points and eight rebounds from Leon Buchanan, 13 points from Maze Stallworth and 10 points and a game-high 12 rebounds from Kenneth Faried.

UT Martin was led by Lester Hudson who scored a game-high 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds. Marquis Weddle had 13 points, and Benzor Simmons had 12 points and eight rebounds.

"I thought it was a very physical game for this early in the season," said MSU Coach Donnie Tyndall. "You've got to commend UT Martin, they were physical and forced us into some costly turnovers in the first half. And, even though we got the win tonight, that's something we're going to have to correct if we're going to get where we want to as a team.

"Demonte (Harper) played well. He had 22 points, five assists and four steals, but he had too many turnovers and he's going to have cut down on those. We switched defense, and we got some nice baskets in transition. Their guards are so good, we had to find a way to keep them off balance."

MSU led early, but the Skyhawks recovered and led by as many as seven points in the first half. The Eagles battled back and scored the final five points before intermission to send the teams to the locker rooms tied 35-35.

The final tie of the game came at 67-67 with 4:49 left. The Eagles then finished the game on a 13-to-4 run to win by nine points.

Neither team shot well, MSU 39.7 percent (25-of-63) and UT Martin (37.1 percent (23-of-62). The Eagles won the rebound battle, 47-to-40, and both teams had 17 turnovers.

Morehead State will play host to the OVC's preseason favorite Murray State at 4:15 p.m. EST on Saturday (Dec. 6). UT Martin will travel on to Richmond, Ky., for a 7 p.m. EST game at Eastern Kentucky, also on Saturday.