Belmont women and Austin Peay men claim OVC basketball titles and NCAA bids

OVC mens basketball champion Austin Peay Governors

OVC mens basketball champion Austin Peay Governors

OVC Mens Basketball Championship
In a stunning run to the title, the eight-seeded Austin Peay mens basketball team is going to the NCAA Tournament after winning its fifth Ohio Valley Conference Championship trophy, its first since 2008. On Saturday at Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, head coach Dave Loos and his team completed a classic four-day run to become the first number eight seed to ever be crowned OVC champs. The Govs await their NCAA Tournament location on Selection Sunday, March 13, with a watch party in Clarksville.

Playing in their first OVC championship game since 2009, the Governors capped their miracle run with an 83-73 victory over #3 seed UT Martin. Freshman Jared Savage scored 24 points, hitting 8 of 14 from 3, as Austin Peay hit a school-record 16 3-pointers and the Governors (18-17) won their sixth game straight to earn their sixth NCAA Tournament berth, and to help Loos celebrate his 69th birthday.

“Best birthday present I have ever had without question, and these guys made it possible,” Loos said after the win.

APSU upset the league’s regular season champ, #1 seed Belmont, 97-96 in Overtime on Friday to reach the final in a tournament where they had to win the final two of the regular season and get help to even earn the eighth and final seed. They earlier handed #3 seed TSU a major upset loss on Thursday, 74-72, overcoming a 19-point second half deficit. The Govs opened tournament play on Wednesday with a 92-72 win over #5 seed Tennessee Tech.

2016 OVC Men’s Basketball All-Tournament Team
Evan Bradds, Belmont
Twymond Howard, UT Martin
Josh Robinson, Austin Peay
Jared Savage, Austin Peay
Chris Horton, Austin Peay (MVP)

OVC womens basketball champion Belmont Bruins

OVC womens basketball champion Belmont Bruins

OVC Womens Basketball Championship

Belmont University women’s basketball team defeated Eastern Kentucky 95-63 on Saturday afternoon to claim the 2016 Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Championship and an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The Bruins, among the nation’s top rebounding teams, used their size, depth and persistence to methodically break free from a talented Eastern Kentucky team. The Bruins (24-8) earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history, the first since 2007, when they represented the Atlantic Sun Conference as A-Sun champions. Belmont will learn its seed, site location and opponent during the selection show on campus in the Curb Center on Monday, March 14.

Belmont shot 50 percent from the field and had seven different scorers in building a 41-26 halftime lead. Belmont committed only one turnover the first 24 minutes of the game, and outrebounded Eastern Kentucky, 54-22. The 32-point margin of victory was the largest in OVC Women’s Basketball Championship history. Belmont (24-8) has won 16 of its last 17 games, including a 68-60 win over the defending conference champion TSU Lady Tigers on Wednesday afternoon.

2016 OVC Women’s Basketball All-Tournament Team
Sally McCabe, Belmont
Darby Maggard, Belmont
Shameekia Murray, Eastern Kentucky
Jalen O’Bannon, Eastern Kentucky
Shronda Butts, SIUE
Most Valuable Player: Sally McCabe, Belmont