BRENTWOOD, Tenn. — The Belmont Bruins just keep taking top awards in the Ohio Valley Conference with J.J. Mann voted the league's player of the year and Rick Byrd taking coach of the year honors for a second straight season.
The OVC announced the awards voted on by the league's coaches and sports information directors Tuesday.
This is only Belmont's second season in the OVC. Mann becomes the second Belmont player to take top honors after he averaged 18.4 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. Byrd coached Belmont to a second straight OVC championship by going 14-2 again for the Bruins' fifth straight league title overall.
Corey Walden of Eastern Kentucky is the league's defensive player of the year. Guard Cameron Payne of Murray State is the freshman of the year.
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■ Heather Butler of UT Martin was voted the OVC's women's player of the year with her teammate Jasmine Newsome repeating as the league's top defensive player.
UT Martin teammate Ashia Jones is the league's freshman of the year.
Rick Peitri of Jacksonville State is the coach of the year. He coached the Gamecocks to their first tournament berth since 2011.
Marie Carpenter, who is averaging 21.5 points per game for Eastern Kentucky, was voted to the All-OVC first team.
Former Henry Clay star Candace Morton, a sophomore at Jacksonville State, made the second team.