Archive | March, 2015

Neubauer steps down to accept Fordham post

Posted on 30 March 2015 by admin

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Eastern Kentucky University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Neubauer has stepped down to accept the same position at Fordham University, a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Neubauer leaves EKU as the second winningest coach in program history, posting a 188-134 record in 10 seasons on the Colonel sideline.  Neubauer led Eastern to two Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances (2007 & 2014).  In addition, the Colonels made three other trips to national postseason tournaments under his guidance.

“This is a great opportunity for Coach Neubauer, and we wish him and Karen all the best,” EKU President Michael Benson said. “Our men’s basketball program has enjoyed great success these past 10 years, and he leaves the program in a terrific position for his successor. We thank Jeff and Karen for their service to EKU and wish them well as they enter this new chapter in their lives. The national search for a new head men’s basketball coach will be led by our new Director of Athletics, Steve Lochmueller, and that search will begin immediately.”

Neubauer is the only coach in program history to win 20 or more games five times.  Five of Eastern’s 10 20-win seasons came during his tenure. 

The last three seasons have been among the best in program history.  Neubauer led the Colonels to three consecutive appearances in national postseason tournaments for the first time in school history.  EKU won a school record 25 games in 2012-13.  The 2013-14 team won 24 games, captured the OVC Tournament title and nearly upset No. 2 seed Kansas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  This season’s squad won 21 games, including a 28-point victory at No. 18 Miami in December and two victories in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) in March.

Eastern’s 70 wins over the last three years are the most during any three-year period in program history.

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Stutz and Walden named 1st team All-District

Posted on 27 March 2015 by admin

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Two Eastern Kentucky University men’s basketball players – seniors Eric Stutz and Corey Walden – were selected first team All-District 19 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the organization announced today.

Stutz posted the best season of his career. He averaged 15.6 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game. He made 61 percent of his shots from the field, including 47 percent from three-point range. Stutz ranked sixth in the Ohio Valley conference in scoring, had the second best field goal percentage and was 11th in rebounding. He posted the eighth-best shooting percentage in the nation.

In a victory at IUPUI (Dec. 13), Stutz became the 27th player in program history to grab 500 rebounds in his career. When he scored his 1,000th career point at UT Martin (Jan. 8), the Newburgh, Indiana native became just the 13th player in EKU history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds. Stutz scored a career-best 27 points in a win over Belmont (Feb. 5).

The 2014-15 first team All-OVC selection played his best basketball down the stretch. Over Eastern’s final 16 games of the season, he averaged 18 points, six rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.

Stutz finished his career 15th on EKU’s all-time scoring list with 1,338 points. He stands 14th on the school’s all-time rebounds list with 648. He also set a new school record with 132 games played.

Walden closed out his career as one of the best in program history. In just three years as a Colonel, he scored 1,518 points, the eighth most-ever by a Colonel.

The two-time OVC Defensive Player of the Year also broke the EKU career and single season records for steals. His 236 career steals broke Jamie Ross’ mark of 221 and is the fifth most-ever in OVC history. Walden finished the 2014-15 season with 99 steals, which also broke the record of 87 held by Ross and is the second-most ever in one season by an OVC player.

During his senior season Walden averaged 18.6 points, four rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.1 steals per game. He shot 55 percent from the field and nailed 82 percent of his free throws.

The 2014-15 first team All-OVC selection was the only player ranked in the top-10 in the OVC in scoring (2nd), field goal percentage (7th), assists (7th) and steals (1st). Walden leads the nation with an average of 3.09 steals per game and ranks 35th in scoring.

The Daytona Beach native became the 33rd player in EKU history to score 1,000 points when he scored 33 in a win at Southern Utah (Nov. 26). In the Colonels’ 28-point victory at No. 18 Miami, Walden had 18 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. He hit two three-pointers from the “U” logo in the final five minutes to squelch any chance of a Miami comeback. He scored a career-best 35 points in Eastern’s regular season finale against Tennessee Tech. Walden’s lay-up with 12 seconds to go gave the Colonels a 66-65 victory over High Point in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).

Eastern Kentucky went 21-12 this season and made its third straight appearance in a national postseason tournament. Eastern finished first in the OVC East Division with an 11-5 mark in league games. The Colonels have finished in the top-3 in the conference each of the last three seasons. The 21 victories are tied for the fourth most-ever in program history.

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Lochmueller named new Athletic Director

Posted on 27 March 2015 by admin

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RICHMOND, Ky. – Steve Lochmueller, already a familiar name to many Kentuckians, brings an entrepreneurial vision, business savvy and proven leadership skills in diverse settings as the next Director of Athletics at Eastern Kentucky University.

In announcing the decision on Friday, March 27, EKU President Michael Benson said Lochmueller’s “unique skill set” makes him ideally suited for the position.

“Steve is the son of a former student-athlete, coach and teacher; played college basketball at the highest level under legendary coaches; and has served on various athletics-affiliated boards,” Benson noted. “He has been around athletics his entire life in many different roles and understands the broad spectrum that is intercollegiate athletics. Add to that his extensive business experience and his vast array of contacts within the Commonwealth and beyond, and I believe we have in Steve Lochmueller a leader who can imbue our athletics operation with a business mindset focused on resource and revenue generation.”

Lochmueller will start in April, with an annual base salary of $180,000. He succeeds Mark Sandy, who resigned earlier this year to take a similar position at Ball State University.

Most of Lochmueller’s career has been spent as an executive in the telecommunications field. He has served as general manager for GTE Telecommunications, vice president and general manager for Horizon Cellular, vice president for Pre-Cellular, area general manager for Nextel Partners, regional vice president for Leap Wireless, and chief operating officer, president and chief executive officer for Lightyear Network Solutions. He also served from 1992 to 1993 as a liaison for technology and communications with the Kentucky Governor’s Office and CEO and owner of Sumerset Houseboats from 2003 to 2009. Currently, as president of Direct Attention Inc., he provides consulting services to several clients in various fields.

“I’m honored to be the next Athletics Director at EKU,” Lochmueller said. “President Benson has infused EKU with an energy that is palpable around the Commonwealth and beyond. I cannot express how excited I am to join the Colonel Nation. It is a program with a rich championship history and enormous future potential.

“Among my first priorities will be to bolster our already strong leadership team to make sure we have the necessary administrative structure in place to achieve our lofty goals,” Lochmueller added. “We will aim to give our coaches the necessary resources to build and sustain championship programs with student-athletes who make us proud in the classroom, on the playing fields and courts, and in the community.”

Benson extended his “sincere thanks to Dan McBride, a longtime and faithful Colonel, for his leadership as Interim Athletics Director. He and many others within the Department helped guide our program in recent months as we conducted this important search.”

Lochmueller, one of the last players to participate in both basketball and football at UK, was a member of the University’s famed 1971 “Super Kittens” recruiting class, which was undefeated as freshmen and ranked No. 1 in the nation. The 6-foot-7 center/forward helped lead his Wildcat teams to an SEC regular-season championship and NCAA Elite Eight during his career. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in general studies from UK. A native of Tell City, Ind., an Ohio River community just east of Owensboro, Lochmueller is a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lochmueller also has been very active in civic affairs. He is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Lexington Chamber of Commerce; The Child Development Centers of the Bluegrass, which he served as treasurer and vice president; the Kentucky Chapter of the Leukemia Society of America; The Kentucky Council on Economic Education; University of Kentucky Athletics; University of Kentucky Basketball Museum; Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation; The Houseboat Industry Association; and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. In addition, he was appointed by Gov. Paul Patton as a member of the board working with Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lambert to nominate new judges in Fayette County. He was also chairman of the board of the statewide Commercial Mobile Radio Systems (CMRS) E911. Most recently, he served on the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce board for six years and on the iHigh Inc. Board of Directors.

Nick Perlick, vice president for development and alumni relations at EKU, chaired the seven-member search committee that narrowed the field from more than 60 candidates attracted via a national search down to four finalists who visited the campus in March.

“I want to thank the search committee for its outstanding work as well as all those who participated in the process, including the many from the campus and community who attended the open forums to hear the finalists and share their own hopes and dreams for EKU Athletics,” Perlick said. “I am eager to welcome Steve to EKU and partner with him to advance our great University and Colonel Athletics.”

The other finalists were: Jude A. Killy, senior associate athletics director for external operations at Miami University (Ohio); Derrick Ramsey, director of athletics at Coppin State University; and Christopher Walker, associate athletics director for development at Washington State University. Each finalist spent two days on EKU’s Richmond campus for a series of meetings and forums.

One member of that search committee, Dr. Sheila Pressley, associate professor of environmental health sciences and faculty athletics representative, said Lochmueller “understands that athletics is an important component of our academic campus. He has the necessary skills and background to build incredible external relationships that will improve athletics and Eastern Kentucky University as an institution.”

College Football Hall of Fame Coach Roy Kidd, whose teams won 314 games and two national I-AA titles from 1964 to 2002, is likewise excited for the future of EKU Athletics. “I was really impressed with Steve,” Kidd said. “As a person, as a coach’s son, as a former Division I athlete and as an experienced business leader, he will be a heck of an asset for the University.”
Competing at the NCAA Division I level (FCS for football), EKU offers 17 varsity sports and earned the Ohio Valley Conference Commissioner’s Cup, awarded to the best overall performance in conference competition, in 2011-12 and again in 2013-14.

At the national level, EKU teams have qualified for 19 NCAA championship events spanning the last 10 years. The Colonel football team reached the NCAA FCS playoffs four times, including a trip this past fall, while the men’s basketball team danced in the NCAA tournament in 2007 and 2014. Meanwhile, the men’s cross country team has been a fixture at the NCAA championship meet four years running.

EKU’s student-athletes have also excelled in the classroom. In the most recent NCAA Academic Progress Report (APR) released in the spring of 2014, Eastern Kentucky boasted several quality rankings. Ten programs – men’s basketball, men’s cross country, men’s golf, women’s golf, soccer, softball, women’s tennis, men’s indoor track & field, men’s outdoor track & field, and volleyball – received perfect scores of 1,000 on the APR for the 2012-13 academic year. This past fall term, the all-athlete GPA was 3.12, which marked the sixth consecutive semester the all-athlete term GPA was above a 3.0.

The University’s commitment to excellence on the fields and courts of competition and to the academic success of its student-athletes continues, Benson said.

“EKU Athletics will continue to focus on being wholly compliant, graduating our student athletes who represent EKU in the best possible light, and being competitive in every single sport,” Benson said. “But Steve will also help us focus on the importance of making our athletic department more sustainable while providing additional opportunities for our student athletes.”

Lochmueller currently resides in Lexington with his wife, Christi, and their twin children, Chase and Presley. He also has a grown daughter and son-in-law, Whitney and Steve Lawson, and one grandson, Jake.

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Walden sends Colonels to next round of CIT

Posted on 20 March 2015 by admin

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RICHMOND, Ky. – With 12 seconds to play and his team down one, senior guard Corey Walden hit a tough running layup that helped Eastern Kentucky advance to the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) with a 66-65 victory over High Point Friday night.

The Colonels will play Wednesday night in the quarterfinals of the CIT at McBrayer Arena against an opponent to be named later. There is no formal bracket for the tournament. The match-ups for each round are determined after the preceding round is completed.

High Point (23-10) guard Haiishen McIntyre missed the front end of a one-and-one with 20 seconds to go and his team ahead by one. Eric Stutz grabbed the rebound, outlet passed to Walden who took the ball to the rim and scored the game-winner.

The Panthers had one more chance to win, but sophomore guard Anthony Lindauer missed a corner jumper that went off the left side of the rim. Isaac McGlone grabbed the rebound to seal it for the Colonels (21-11).

The game was never in favor of either team for an extended time. The two teams combined for seven ties and five lead changes and the largest lead never got above 10 for either team.

The Colonels went on an 11-2 run to turn a two-point deficit into a seven-point lead. McGlone hit three-pointers on two straight possessions. His first, from the left wing capped a streak of eight unanswered. His second, this time from the top of the key after an offensive rebound by Stutz, gave the home team a 64-57 lead with 4:02 left to play.

High Point then responded with an 8-0 run of its own from 3:42 until Walden’s game winner with 12 seconds to play.

Walden led EKU with 19 points to go along with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals. Stutz – who broke EKU career record for games played tonight – had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. McGlone had 14 points and two rebounds, including the one that sealed the win.

High Point forward John Brown led the Panthers. Brown finished with 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and eight rebounds. Brown had several key baskets down the stretch for the Panthers.

The Colonels shot a scorching hot 13-of-25 from three-point land and limited High Point to just 7-of-16. EKU also totaled 10 steals. Eastern shot just two free throws the entire game.

NOTES
Eric Stutz played in his 132nd career game, breaking the program record for career games played. He was tied with former Colonel Jeff Johnson (2010-14) with 131 games played.

High Point’s RPI of 89 is the highest of any team in the CIT and would be the second highest in the OVC.

With its 21st win of the season, the 2014-15 team is now tied with the 1945-46, 1946-47, 1978-79 and 2006-07 teams for the fourth most wins in program history.

Eric Stutz recorded his sixth career double-double, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. It was his third double-double of the season.

Eastern Kentucky is making its third straight appearance in a national postseason tournament. The Colonels participated in the CIT in 2013 and played in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2014. EKU now has six postseason tournament trips in the last 11 years.

Corey Walden is the only player ranked in the top-10 in the OVC in scoring (2nd), field goal percentage (8th), assists (7th) and steals (1st). He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.

Corey Walden broke the EKU single season and career records for steals against Belmont in the OVC Tournament semifinals. With four more tonight, he moved to fifth in OVC history with 234 career steals and his 97 steals this season are second-most ever in conference history.

Eastern Kentucky entered the game leading the nation in turnover margin (+7.3) and second in steals (9.7 spg). The Colonels finished with just three fewer turnovers and 10 steals.

The Colonels entered the game second in the nation in free throw percentage at 78.2 percent. Eastern went to the line only twice and made one on Friday against High Point.

Over the last two seasons, a total of 66 games, EKU has committed more turnovers than its opponent only four times.

High Point entered the game in the top-50 in the nation in scoring (73.2 ppg), field goal percentage (48 percent) and three-point shooting (39 percent). The Panthers finished with just 65 points on 46 percent shooting from the field and just 35 percent from behind the arc.

In 64 halves of basketball this season, the Colonels have held their opponents to 30 or fewer points in a half 26 times. That means, 41 percent of the time this season, an Eastern opponent hasn’t scored more than 30 points in a half.

EKU is 41-6 in its last 47 home games.

Eastern now leads the all-time series 4-1 and is 3-0 against the Panthers in Richmond.

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Colonel Football Announces Changes to Coaching Staff

Posted on 19 March 2015 by admin

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RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University head football coach Dean Hood has announced several changes to the coaching staff for the 2015 season.

Two new faces have joined the Colonel staff this year – Walt Wells and Brian Landis.

Wells will serve as an assistant head coach while in charge of the offensive tackles and tight ends. Wells has more than 20 years of experience as both an offensive line coach and offensive coordinator. This is Wells’ second stint at EKU. He served six seasons under Roy Kidd from 1997-2002 as an offensive line coach and tight ends coach.

Wells spent the 2014 season at New Mexico State as the Aggies’ offensive line coach. In 2013, he was the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at USF. Prior to joining the USF coaching staff, Wells spent 10 years at Western Kentucky.

Landis has been hired to coach the Colonel safeties. He joins the EKU staff after a 13-year run on the Georgetown College coaching staff as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Landis played football for the Tigers and was captain of the Georgetown squad that went on to win the 2000 NAIA national championship.

After playing one year of arena football with the Lexington Horsemen (2004) as a defensive back, Landis returned to Georgetown College as an assistant coach.

There has also been one change of coaching responsibility within the current football staff. Ben Hodges, who had coached the tight ends the previous three years, will now coach the outside linebackers and special teams.

Spring practice for the current Colonels is set to begin on Monday, April 6. Eastern’s spring game is scheduled for Thursday night, April 30.

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High Point up next for Colonels

Posted on 18 March 2015 by admin

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RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky will host High Point in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) on Friday at 7 p.m.

High Point is 23-9 this season and carries an RPI of 89.  The Panthers went 13-5 in the Big South and tied for first.  The Colonels are making their third straight appearance in a national postseason tournament.  Eastern is now 20-11 after knocking off Norfolk State, 81-75, on Tuesday.

EKU students will receive free sunglasses, while supplies last.

All kids 12-and-under and all Eastern Kentucky University students will receive FREE admission to the game.  General admission seats are $8.  Tickets for lower level chair-back seats will be $15 and upper chair-back seats are $10.  EKU season ticket holders and Colonel Club members can purchase chair-back tickets for half price if ordered in advance.  EKU faculty and staff can receive half price general admission seats.  To order tickets, or for more information, call the ticket office at 859-622-2122.

There is no formal bracket for the tournament.  The match-ups for each round are determined after the preceding round is completed.  Second-round CIT games will be played Friday and Saturday, quarterfinal games March 24-25 and semifinal games March 31.  The championship game will be played on April 2.  The semifinals and the championship game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

Eastern Kentucky withstood a 16-4 late-game run to beat Norfolk State.  Corey Walden and Eric Stutz both finished with 22 points.  Walden added eight assists and three steals.  Stutz scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, making five of six shots.  Ja’Mill Powell contributed 12 points.  Timmy Knipp added 13 points, two rebounds and three assists.

The Colonels made 13 three-pointers.  The 81 EKU points were well above the 68.5 average Norfolk State had given up per game this season.

With its victory over Norfolk State, the Colonels recorded the 10th 20-win season in program history.  In 2012-13, #Jeff Neubauer# became the first EKU coach to win 20 or more games three times.  In 10 seasons on the EKU bench, he has now led the Colonels to five of the ten 20-win campaigns in EKU history.

When Stutz sees his first second of action against High Point, he will break the program record for career games played.  He is currently tied with former Colonel Jeff Johnson (2010-14) with 131 games played.

High Point was upset in the Big South Tournament by Gardner-Webb.  Before beating Maryland Eastern Shore, 70-64, on Wednesday, HPU lost two straight games in overtime.

John Brown, a 6-foot-8 205-pound forward, leads the Panthers in scoring (19 ppg), rebounding (5.9 rpg), field goal percentage (55 percent) and blocks (1.1 bpg).  In two career games against EKU, Brown has averaged 19.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks while shooting 52 percent from the field.  Of his 19 rebounds, 12 have come off the offensive glass.

As a team, High Point averages 73.3 points on 48 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from three-point range.  HPU ranks among the top-50 in the country in all three categories.  HPU turns the ball over 2.1 fewer times per game than its opponent.

The Colonels lead the Ohio Valley Conference in defense, allowing just 63.4 points per game.  Eastern Kentucky leads the nation in turnover margin (+7.3) and is second in steals (9.7 spg).

Brown made 6-of-13 from the field and 11-of-12 at the free throw line to lead all players with 23 points in High Point’s first round victory over Maryland Eastern Shore.  He also had seven rebounds.

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Colonels earn bid to CIT

Posted on 10 March 2015 by admin

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RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky will make its third straight appearance in a national postseason tournament when the Colonels host a first round game in the 7th Annual CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) on Tuesday, March 17 at 7 p.m.

Free St. Patrick’s Day themed EKU t-shirts will be given away at the game. All Eastern Kentucky University students will receive FREE admission. Tickets for lower level chair-back seats will be $15, upper chair-back seats are $10 and general admission seats are $8. EKU season ticket holders and Colonel Club members can purchase chair-back tickets for half price if ordered in advance. EKU faculty and staff can receive half price general admission seats. To order tickets, or for more information, call the ticket office at 859-622-2122.

EKU’s first round opponent will not be known until the complete field is announced on Sunday night. This is Eastern’s sixth national postseason tournament appearance in the last 11 years. Included among those six are three NCAA Tournament trips.

The CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament was created in 2009. What began as a 16-team event, expanded to 24 teams in 2011 and is now a 32-team postseason tournament, with invitations extended only to teams outside of the BCS power conferences.

There is no formal bracket for the tournament. The match-ups for each round are determined after the preceding round is completed. All 31 games are played on campus sites.

The first round will be played on March 17-18. Second-round CIT games will be played March 20-21, quarterfinal games March 24-25 and semifinal games March 31. The championship game will be played on April 2. The semifinals and the championship game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network.

Eastern Kentucky played in the 2013 CIT, beating Gardner-Webb 69-62 before falling to Evansville, 86-72. The victory at Gardner-Webb was the first for EKU in a national postseason tournament in 68 years.

The Colonels are 19-11 overall this season, including a 28-point victory at No. 18 Miami. After ending the regular season with eight wins in nine games, Eastern posted a top-3 finish in the Ohio Valley Conference for the third straight season.

EKU features a pair of first team All-OVC selections in Corey Walden and Eric Stutz. Walden is the only player in the conference ranked among the top-10 in scoring (2nd), field goal percentage (9th), assists (7th) and steals (1st). In the OVC Tournament semifinals, Walden broke the school record for career steals and steals in a season.

Stutz is only the 13th player in program history to score 1,000 points and grab 500 rebounds in his career. He is sixth in the nation in shooting (62.3 percent). In his last seven home games, the senior shot 70 percent from the field while averaging 20 points per game.

The Colonels are on the cusp of the 10th 20-win season in program history due in large part to their defense. Eastern Kentucky leads the OVC with 63 points allowed per game. EKU is fourth in the nation in steals (9.7 spg), has forced its opponents into an average of 18.9 turnovers per game and leads the country in turnover margin (+7.3). In 60 halves of basketball this season, Eastern has held its opponents to 30 or fewer points in a half 25 times (42 percent).

With its win at Tennessee State (Feb. 14), EKU set a new program record for the winningest four-year stretch. The Colonels have now surpassed the previous mark of 80 by four wins.

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Murray named Second team All-OVC

Posted on 03 March 2015 by admin

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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky University junior women’s basketball player Shameekia “Polly” Murray has been voted second team All-Ohio Valley Conference, the league office announced on Tuesday.

The transfer from South Georgia Technical College was also voted to the five-person OVC All-Newcomer Team.

Murray exploded onto the scene in her first season at EKU, averaging 14.0 points-per-game and 4.4 rebounds-per-game. She also shot 46.4 percent (148-of-319) from the field and led the team with 44 steals.

The guard from Claxton, Georgia especially excelled during the OVC season, leading EKU and ranking seventh in the league at 16.1 points-per-game during conference play. She scored 14 points or more in 13 of the Colonels’ 16 OVC games this season. She scored a career-high 22 points twice during the season, once in a loss to Austin Peay on January 3 and once in a win over in-state rival Morehead State on February 21. Her best overall performance, however, came in a win at Murray State on January 22 when she posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Murray also keyed EKU’s defense during conference play, ranking fourth in the OVC at 2.0 steals-per-game.

Murray joined the Colonels after transferring from South Georgia Technical College, where she earned National Junior College Athletic Association Division I second team All-American honors last season.

She joins Tennessee State’s Chelsea Hudson, Jacksonville State’s Destany McLin and Candace Morton, Murray State’s Ke’Shunan James, SIUE’s Tierny Austin and Tennessee Tech’s Samaria Howard on the second team All-OVC.

Murray, James, Howard, SIUE’s Shronda Butts and UT Martin’s Jessy Ward comprise the OVC All-Newcomer Team.

UT Martin’s Kevin McMillan was selected as the OVC Coach of the Year, while UT Martin’s Ashia Jones was voted OVC Player of the Year and Austin Peay’s Tiasha Gray was voted OVC Defensive Player of the Year.

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Walden and Stutz pickup postseason OVC honors

Posted on 03 March 2015 by admin

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BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – After leading Murray State to just the fifth undefeated Conference season in Ohio Valley Conference history, Murray State sophomore point guard Cameron Payne was named 2014-15 OVC Player of the Year while his coach Steve Prohm took home OVC Coach of the Year honors in voting by league head coaches and sports information directors. In additional voting Eastern Kentucky senior guard Corey Walden repeated as OVC Defensive Player of the Year while Eastern Illinois guard Cornell Johnston was named OVC Freshman of the Year.

In the now seven-year history of the OVC Defensive Player of the Year Award, Walden is the second player to repeat as winner, joining Morehead State All-American and NBA player Kenneth Faried (who won three-straight from 2009-11). Entering this week Walden ranks second nationally in steals (3.0/game) for an Eastern Kentucky team that is currently first nationally in turnover margin (+7.6/game). Walden also helped his team rank second in the OVC in scoring defense (63.3 points/game allowed) and hold 21 of the team’s 29 opponents to under 70 points this season. During the final week of the regular season he broke into the OVC single-season steals Top 10 (84 – he now ranks ninth) as well as the OVC career steals Top 10 (221 – he ranks eighth); those 221 career steals is also tied for first place in EKU history. He opened the season with a career-high eight swipes against Savannah State and had three other games where he had five or more steals in 2014-15.

Payne becomes the first sophomore to be named OVC Player of the Year since Austin Peay’s Drake Reed took home the award in 2006-07, and the second MSU sophomore to win the award (joining the legendary Popeye Jones in 1989-90). He is the 13th Murray State player to take home the honor and first since Isaiah Canaan won back-to-back awards in 2012 and 2013. After leading the Racers to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) Championship a season ago, Payne was named Preseason OVC Player of the Year heading into this season and backed up those predictions. He enters the postseason ranking 13th nationally in scoring (20.2 points/game), 21st in assists (5.7/game) and 39th in steals (1.97/game). Among OVC players the Memphis native ranks first in scoring and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4), second in assists, third in steals, fifth in 3-pointers made/game (2.2) and seventh in free throw shooting (78.9%). Payne has scored 30 or more points in three different games this season (all coming on the road) and scored in double figures in all but one contest. He dished out a season-high nine assists twice and also pulled down 10 rebounds in a victory over Eastern Kentucky. He was named OVC Player of the Week five times during the year but more importantly he helped his team win, as the Racers have reeled off 24 consecutive victories which established a new OVC record for longest winning streak (topping a mark the 2011-12 MSU team set). The Racers also became the first team to go through the OVC season undefeated since 2003-04 and this week jumped into both the USA Today Coaches Poll (No. 24) and the Associated Press Poll (No. 25), becoming the first OVC team to be ranked since the 2011-12 season.

Prohm picked up his second OVC Coach of the Year honor and first since his inaugural season with the team in 2011-12. After taking that club to a 31-2 overall record and Top 10 national ranking, Prohm did it this season by relying on Payne, the sophomore point guard, and a great shooting offense. After starting the season just 2-4 overall, Prohm’s club made some adjustments and have not lost since, reeling off 24-straight victories entering the week; that streak is the second-longest active streak nationally and is the longest in OVC history (breaking a mark of 23 set by the Racers in the 2011-12 season). The team also completed a perfect 16-0 league mark, marking just the fifth time in league history a team had gone through League play undefeated, and also entered the national Top 25 polls this week, becoming the first OVC team to be nationally ranked since the Racers were in 2011-12. During the season Prohm also posted his 100th career victory, becoming the fastest coach in Murray State’s prestigious history to reach that plateau; he enters the postseason with a 101-27 (.789) records in four years at MSU. Overall Prohm is the sixth different Murray State coach to win a pair of OVC Coach of the Year Awards; overall the program has had 10 different coaches take home the league’s top honor a total of 16 times.

Johnston helped the Eastern Illinois team to just its second overall winning season since 2001, as the Panthers made a five-game improvement from last season to finish with 16 overall victories. The Panthers also started Conference play 6-0 and finished with nine overall league victories in the third year under head coach Jay Spoonhour. Along the way the diminutive point guard set the Eastern Illinois freshman record for assists (130 and counting) and he enters the postseason ranked third in the OVC in assists (4.5/game). He has also torched the nets from 3-point range, leading all OVC players with a 52.2 percentage on the season; that number is even better over the final 13 games of the regular season as he connected on 66 percent (31-of-47) over that time period. He scored a season-high 22 points in a victory at Morehead State and was named OVC Freshman of the Week four times and OVC Player of the Week once. He is the fourth different EIU player to be named OVC Freshman of the Year and first since Romain Martin shared the award in 2006-07.

ALL-OVC TEAMS
This year’s first and second-team All-OVC squads include 10 players from six OVC schools. Belmont, Eastern Kentucky, Murray State and UT Martin (the top four seeds in this week’s tournament) each had two selections apiece. The first and second-teams included six seniors, two juniors and two sophomores.

Payne, the OVC Player of the Week, was the top vote getter and earned his second-straight All-OVC first-team selection. He was joined on the All-OVC first-team by two players who were second-team selections a season ago in Belmont junior guard Craig Bradshaw and Murray State senior forward Jarvis Williams. The team also includes the Eastern Kentucky senior guard Corey Walden, the OVC Defensive Player of the Year, and Eastern Kentucky senior forward Eric Stutz.

Bradshaw took over as Belmont’s leading scorer after the graduation of last year’s OVC Player of the Year J.J. Mann. He enters the postseason averaging 17.9 points/game, which ranks third in the OVC and 49th nationally. The junior also ranks 29th nationally in 3-point percentage (41.7%) while ranking second in the OVC in 3-pointers made (2.5/game), eighth in steals (1.6/game) and ninth in assists (3.2/game) among league players. Earlier this season he scored 42 points in a road victory over Ohio, which is the fifth-most points by a Division I player this season; that performance earned him National Player of the Week honors. He was also named a CoSIDA Academic All-American for his work in the classroom (3.51 grade point average in public relations).

Williams helped Murray State to the OVC regular season championship by ranking third in the OVC in rebounding (8.3/game), fourth in field goal percentage (57.1%) and sixth in scoring (15.4 points/game) while also netting 10 double-doubles, which was the third-highest total in the league.

Walden and Stutz were a one-two combination for the defending OVC Tournament Champion Colonels, leading the team to first place in the East Division and the No. 2 overall seed for the OVC Tournament. While Walden led the team in scoring and shot 54.1 percent from the field while also being the team’s defensive stopper, Stutz has been one of the most improved players in the league. Entering this season he had career averages around 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds/game but blossomed this season in averaging 15.5 points (5th in the OVC) and 5.8 rebounds (11th in the OVC) per game while hitting 61.7 percent from the field, a percentage that ranks sixth in the nation.

The All-OVC second-team included one repeat selection in Southeast Missouri State senior swingman Jarekious Bradley. He was joined on the team by a pair of UT Martin senior guards in Deville Smith and Marshun Newell, Eastern Illinois junior swingman Trae Anderson and Belmont sophomore forward Evan Bradds.

The OVC All-Newcomer Team is was comprised of first-year players (freshman and transfers) in the league. Included in the selections was Johnston, the OVC Freshman of the Year, as well as Anderson and Smith, who were also second-team selections. The other selections on the team were Tennessee Tech junior center Charles Jackson and UT Martin junior forward Twymond Howard.
2014-15 Men’s Basketball All-OVC Teams and Awards
OVC Player of the Year: Cameron Payne, Murray State
OVC Defensive Player of the Year: Corey Walden, Eastern Kentucky
OVC Freshman of the Year: Cornell Johnston, Eastern Illinois
OVC Coach of the Year: Steve Prohm, Murray State

ALL-OVC FIRST TEAM
Cameron Payne, Murray State
Corey Walden, Eastern Kentucky
Craig Bradshaw, Belmont
Jarvis Williams, Murray State
Eric Stutz, Eastern Kentucky

ALL-OVC SECOND TEAM
Evan Bradds, Belmont
Marshun Newell, UT Martin
Jarekious Bradley, Southeast Missouri
Deville Smith, UT Martin
Trae Anderson, Eastern Illinois

ALL-NEWCOMER TEAM
Deville Smith, UT Martin
Trae Anderson, Eastern Illinois
Charles Jackson, Tennessee Tech
Cornell Johnston, Eastern Illinois
Twymond Howard, UT Martin

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Walden earns OVC Co-Player of the Week honors

Posted on 02 March 2015 by admin

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RICHMOND, Ky. – After scoring a career-high 35 points to help Eastern Kentucky clinch first place in the Ohio Valley Conference East Division and the No. 2 seed in the league tournament senior Corey Walden was chosen as the adidas OVC Co-Player of the Week on Monday.

EKU needed to win three games in six days to claim first place in the OVC East and Walden made sure it happened. The senior guard shot 63 percent from the field and had 11 steals in three wins last week.

After playing a limited number of minutes against Austin Peay while still recovering from a late season ankle injury, Walden put the Colonels on his back the next two games. He finished with a team-best 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals against Jacksonville State. He hit big shot after big shot in a tight game against Tennessee Tech on his way to a career-best 35 points to go along with five steals. Walden had a lay-up, a key rebound and two free throws in the final 25 seconds to secure the victory.

With his 11 steals, he tied the EKU career record and moved onto the OVC top-10 lists for single season steals and career steals.

In three games, the Daytona Beach native averaged 17.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game.

Walden connected on 11 of his 14 attempts from the field against Tennessee Tech and went 13-for-15 at the free throw line.

EKU (19-10, 11-5 OVC) won eight of its final nine regular season games. As the No. 2 seed in the OVC Tournament, the Colonels will play in the semifinals on Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET. The game, at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, will air live on ESPNU.

Eastern will face the winner of the quarterfinal contest between the No. 3 seed Belmont and the winner of the No. 6 Eastern Illinois/No. 7 SIU Edwardsville first round game.

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