Racer skipper a repeat winner

Racer skipper a repeat winner
Repeat was pressed in the Ohio Valley Conference on Tuesday.
Both Murray State coach Billy Kennedy and Morehead State standout Kenneth Faried were honored with league awards for the second straight campaign.
Kennedy, whose Racer team upset Vanderbilt in the NCAA Tournament a year ago, was honored as the league’s Coach of the Year on Tuesday, while Kenneth Faried was named both the OVC Player and Defensive Player of the Year.
It is Faried’s third consecutive top defender honor.
Tennessee State guard Patrick Miller was tabbed as Freshman of the Year.
Kennedy — in his fifth season with the program — led Murray State to its record 22nd OVC championship and second in as many seasons as the team compiled a 23-7 overall record and 14-4 mark in conference play.
After winning an OVC-record 31 games last year and topping Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Kennedy’s team got off to a 4-4 start this season before going 19-3 over its final 22 games in the regular season.
Overall, it marked MSU’s 24th 20-plus win season in program history. Kennedy is now 107-51 in five years at Murray State, including an impressive 70-24 in OVC play.
Faried is the 12th player in OVC history to repeat as OVC Player of the Year — and first since UT Martin’s Lester Hudson (2008-09).
This season, Faried led the nation in rebounding (14.3) and double-doubles (25) in becoming the NCAA’s modern era (since 1973) rebounding champion, passing NBA great Tim Duncan during the season.
This year’s first and second-team All-OVC squads included 10 players from six OVC schools. Murray State led the way with three selections (one first-team, two second-team) followed by Morehead State and Tennessee State with two selections apiece. The first and second-teams each included two seniors, two juniors and a sophomore.
 Faried, the OVC Player of the Year, was the only repeat first-team selection, as he earned first-team honors for the third straight season. He was joined on the first-team by senior teammate Demonte Harper, Austin Peay junior guard TyShwan Edmondson, Murray State sophomore guard Isaiah Canaan (last year’s OVC Freshman of the Year) and Tennessee Tech junior forward Kevin Murphy (a second-team pick a year ago).
 In his senior season, Harper picked up his scoring production, improving from 11.9 points/game last season to 15.4 points/contest this season, a mark that ranked fifth in the OVC. Harper also ranked seventh in the league in assists (3.3/game), ninth in steals (1.5/game) and 10th in 3-point percentage (40 percent). Harper knocked down 52 trifectas during the regular season, the second-most on his team. Harper scored 35 points in a victory at SIU Edwardsville, which was the second-highest point total by an OVC player this year. In directing the Eagles offense, Harper averaged 33.5 minutes/game, a mark that was sixth in the OVC.
 After transferring to Austin Peay from Midland College, Edmondson came off the bench in the Governors first four games before breaking the starting lineup against nationally-ranked Purdue. Following a season-ending injury to Anthony Campbell (the team’s leading returning scorer), Edmondson stepped up his game even more, averaging 17.6 points/game during the regular season, which was just percentage points behind Faried for the league-lead. Edmondson earned two OVC Player of the Week honors during the season and scored 30 or more points in a game twice (one of just two OVC players to accomplish that feat).
 Canaan followed up his rookie campaign that saw him earn OVC Freshman of the Year honors as well as being named MVP of the OVC Tournament, by leading a balanced Murray State offensive attack this season. The guard averaged 12.0 points/game to go along with 2.4 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.03 steals/game. Canaan was tied for the team-lead with 55 3-pointers and connected from long range at a 40.7 percent clip. After the Racers did not have a 20-point scorer through the first 20 games of the season, Canaan broke through with 24 points in a home win over UT Martin; he added 21 points two games later as Murray State won at arch rival Austin Peay, avenging a loss from earlier in the season. His play down the stretch allowed Murray State to win its 22nd OVC regular season championship.
Murphy led Tennessee Tech in scoring for the second year in a row, averaging 15.8 points to go along with 4.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 0.9 steals/game. The 15.8 points/game ranked the junior third in the league in scoring, while his 46.9 percent field goal percentage was 12th-best in the league. Murphy scored in double figures in 25 of his 29 games during the campaign, helping the Golden Eagles to a 12-6 League record and No. 4 seed in the OVC Tournament. The forward had a season-high 31 points in a home game with Murray State and scored 25 on three other occasions.
Five individuals were named to the All-OVC second-team, including two pairs of teammates in Murray State senior guards Isacc Miles and B.J. Jenkins (both of whom were first-team picks last season) and Tennessee State forwards Robert Covington and Kenny Moore. The team was rounded out by Southeast Missouri State junior forward Leon Powell (who ended the regular season leading the NCAA in field goal percentage).
Five players were selected to the OVC All-Newcomer Team, which was comprised of first-year players (freshman and transfers) in the league. The five included three players who were on the All-OVC first or second-teams, including Austin Peay’s Edmondson, Southeast Missouri’s Powell and Tennessee State’s Moore and a fourth player, TSU’s Miller, who was the OVC Freshman of the Year. The team was rounded out by Tennessee Tech junior transfer Zac Swansey.

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