Morehead, KY — The Morehead State Eagles eked out a close win over the Southern Illinois Salukis Thursday night, closing out with an 85-81 victory.
Morehead State (4-3) and Southern Illinois (3-2) met for just the fourth time ever, with Southern Illinois holding a 2-1 series lead.
Morehead’s Erin Blaine started the scoring off for the Eagles, leading the way with four points and five rebounds in the first quarter. Despite that, Southern Illinois led 21-17.
The second frame turned into a track meet as the two teams raced up and down the court. With constant lead changes and ties, Southern Illinois remained on top at the half with a slight edge, 42-39.
Much like the second, the third stanza started out going back and forth once again. within two mintues of the period. Morehead State took a one-point lead for a small amount of time. Eventually, though, the Salukis reclaimed its lead, but it was short-lived as Blaine scored a layup to tie the score at 49-49.
From there, Southern Illinois took off to create a little separation from the Eagles. By the conclusion of the third period, Kylie Giebelhausen knocked down a three to give the Salukis a 69-61 and keep its slight lead over the home team.
Southern Illinois time with the lead finally came to an end as Tierra McGowan and Morehead State overcame its deficit once again, but this time did not relinquish it again.
“We basically had to run on transitions because we know we could beat them on the floor, we work on good passes at practice and transitions in the game," McGowan said.
With 40 seconds left in the game, Morehead State was up by two, 83-81, after Miranda Crockett hit one of two free-throws. The Salukis missed their chance to tie the game with 27 seconds remaining and were forced to foul. Eriel McKee sealed the win for Morehead State after confidently knocking down two free-throws.
“We did some good things in that fourth quarter to seal the victory," the Eagles head coach Gregg Todd said following the win.
Morehead State University plays Lipscomb in Nashville on Dec. 7, while Southern Illinois visits Marshall on Saturday.
Note: Southern Illinois refused to speak with the media afterwards.
Have to LOVE THE #FANS!! #MSU takes home the win 85-81. #OVC #ncaawPosted by Swish Appeal on Thursday, November 30, 2017