Murray State (2-2) at Auburn (2-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Auburn Arena (9,121) -- Auburn, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: Murray State 2-0, Auburn 2-1. Away Record: Murray State 0-2, Auburn 0-0. Neutral Record: Murray State 0-0, Auburn 0-0. Conference Record: Murray State 0-0, Auburn 0-0. Series Record: Auburn leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Auburn continues its five-game homestand to start the season as the Tigers host the Murray State Racers Saturday at Auburn Arena.
It's a second straight Ohio Valley Conference opponent for Auburn, which upended Jacksonville State on Tuesday by 24 points. The lopsided win came four days after a surprising 111-92 shootout loss to Northwestern State.
The Racers have alternated wins and losses in the early going and enter this contest off a 91-64 rout of Bethel. The team's only other victory of the season also took place at home, against Brescia (97-69). The two losses have come against more recognized programs in Valparaiso (77-74) and Old Dominion (70-60).
Murray State defeated Auburn last season in the Charleston Classic, but Auburn won the first two meetings between the programs.
Murray State is well-rounded, with four players scoring in double figures. Dexter Fields, following a 21-point effort in Tuesday's win against Bethel, leads the team at 15.8 ppg, while Jarvis Williams is right behind at 15.0 ppg. Williams has logged three consecutive double-doubles and paces the club with 11.5 rebounds per contest. Rounding out the top scoring threats are freshman guard Cameron Payne and sophomore guard Jeffery Moss (12.3 ppg).
Auburn dominated inside in its 78-54 victory over Jacksonville State, pulling down 14 more rebounds (47-33) and having its way in the paint on the offensive end. Denson led the way with 15 points in the lopsided win. KT Harrell added 14, while Malcolm Canada finished with 10.
Denson has shown vast improvement in his senior season and leads Auburn with 21.3 ppg -- the highest average for a Tigers player over the first three games since Wesley Person and Aaron Swinson both did it in the 1993-94 campaign. Still, the straw that stirs the drink is the Tigers' backcourt, with Denson, Harrell and freshman Tahj Shamsid-Deen dictating play. Harrell checks with 18.7 ppg, while Shamsid-Deen has a solid 12-5 assist-to-turnover ratio in the early going.
If the Tigers can continue to take care of the ball -- their assist-to- turnover ratio is an SEC-best 1.4 over the first three games -- then it will be tough for Murray State to pull off its first road win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 80, Murray State 68
11/23 10:43:56 ET