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Southeast Missouri State (14-12) at McNeese State (14-10)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 18th, 4:00 p.m. (et)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Burton Coliseum (6,500) -- Lake Charles, Louisiana. Television: None. Home Record: SEMO 10-4, McNeese State 8-2. Away Record: SEMO 4-8, McNeese State 6-8. Neutral Record: SEMO 0-0, McNeese State 0-0. Conference Record: SEMO 9-5, McNeese State 10-2. Series Record: First Meeting.

GAME NOTES: The McNeese State Cowboys shoot for their eighth straight win this afternoon, as they welcome the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks to Burton Coliseum for a BracketBuster event.

SEMO has a 14-12 overall record, and is sitting in third place in the Ohio Valley Conference with a 9-5 league ledger. The Redhawks don't have many signature wins this year, but have been nonetheless steady against the teams they were supposed to beat. After winning back-to-back games, they lost to nationally-ranked Murray State for the second time this season, 75-66.

McNeese State was wallowing in obscurity in the Southland Conference before its current win streak, but is now 14-10 overall and alone in first place in the league's East Division with a 10-2 record. The Cowboys squeaked by UTSA in a 58-54 final on Wednesday to post their seventh straight win.

This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.

SEMO has the third-best scoring offense in the OVC, putting up 71.7 ppg on the strength of a league-best field goal percentage of .488. The Redhawk shooting attack fell flat against Murray State on Wednesday however, connecting on only 37.3 percent from the floor. SEMO is led by Tyler Stone (14.4 ppg), Marland Smith (12.7 ppg) and Leon Powell (11.2 ppg). Stone and Powell are tied for fourth in the conference in rebounding at 7.0 rpg apiece, and Powell is the league's most efficient shooter, draining 62.5 percent of his field goal attempts. Smith ranks fourth in both three-pointers made (2.2 per game) and three-point FG percentage (.414). SEMO ranks last in the conference in steals (4.9 spg), which doesn't help its league-worst turnover margin (-2.35).

During McNeese State's current winning streak, it has done what it needed to do in order to win, whether it be outscoring teams (87 points against Central Arkansas) or playing shutdown defense, like it did in Wednesday's triumph. The Cowboys held UTSA to 34 percent shooting overall while forcing 12 turnovers. They have the Southland Conference's best scorer on their side in Patrick Richard, who puts up 17.5 ppg and also grabs 6.3 rpg while dishing out 3.0 apg. Jeremie Mitchell (11 ppg) and Dontae Cannon (10.8 ppg) both do their part in chipping in to an offense that generates 65.1 ppg. McNeese State is typically not strong from beyond the arc, making good on just 29.4 percent of its three-point attempts this season.

McNeese State did not fare well against non-conference foes early in the season, but it is a completely different team now and will use its momentum and the home court advantage to help take down the Redhawks today.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: McNeese State 68, SE Missouri State 64

02/18 10:43:43 ET

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