Ohio Valley Conference Tournament 2013 Championship: Belmont to take on Murray State in title game


Top-seeded Belmont faces off against second-seeded Murray State with a NCAA Tournament bid on the line in the championship game of the 2013 OVC Tournament.

So far, the 2013 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament has gone chalk all the way through. The top-seeded Belmont Bruins will hope to keep it that way when they take on the second-seeded Murray State Racers in the championship game on Saturday in Nashville.

The Bruins and Racers reached the title game with very similar victories. Belmont defeated the fourth-seeded Tennessee State Tigers, 82-73, in the semifinals behind 26 points from Ian Clark and 23 points from Kerron Johnson. The Bruins did not shoot all that well, but outscored the Tigers 21-5 from the free throw line.

Murray State beat the third-seeded Eastern Kentucky Colonels, 81-73, in the semis, with Isaiah Canaan's 29 points leading the way. The Racers shot 58.0 percent from the field and held the Colonels to just 39.3 percent shooting.

Belmont will look for a little revenge in this one, as they lost 79-74 on the road to Murray State in the regular season. It was just one of two conference losses for the Bruins on the season, who went 14-2 in the OVC to win the East Division. The Racers won the West Division with a conference record of 10-6.

Clark and Johnson have led Belmont all season long, with Clark's 18.4 points per game tops on the team. He's shooting 54.5 percent from the field and a scorching 46.9 percent from three-point range. Johnson is second on the team in scoring at 13.4 points per game and leads the team in assists with 4.8 per game.

Canaan is ranked sixth in the NCAA in scoring at 21.8 points per game. He's not nearly as efficient as Clark, but he's still a dynamic scorer and extremely dangerous when he gets going. Big man Ed Daniel is a load down low for Murray State, posting averages of 13.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks.

Tip-off for the title game is at 7 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2.

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