Murray State (13-8) at Belmont (17-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Curb Event Center (5,085) -- Nashville, Tennessee. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Murray State 10-1, Belmont 8-1. Away Record: Murray State 3-7, Belmont 7-7. Neutral Record: Murray State 0-0, Belmont 2-0. Conference Record: Murray State 8-1, Belmont 8-2. Series Record: Murray State leads, 5-2.
GAME NOTES: The Belmont Bruins had a five-game win streak snapped in their last outing, and will look to get back in the win column as they host the OVC leader Murray State at the Curb Event Center.
Murray State sits atop the Ohis Valley Conference's West Division with an 8-1 record. The Racers have won three in a row and eight of their last nine games, including a 96-88 victory over Austin Peay Friday.
Belmont lost just its second OVC game of the season when it fell to Tennessee Tech Saturday, 81-76. The Bruins still are the leaders in the OVC East Division with an 8-2 conference record. This game is the only time these respective OVC leaders will meet during the regular season.
Murray State holds the all-time series lead over Belmont, 5-2. The Racers have won all four contests played on their home court, and are 1-0 at Belmont. The Bruins have won both games played at neutral locations.
In a high-scoring contest against Austin Peay, Murray State's 45-37 halftime lead proved to be the difference as each team coasted to 51 second-half points in the Racers' victory. Jarvis Williams continued his solid season with 28 points and 14 rebounds for the double-double against the Governors. Dexter Fields scored 17, T.J. Sapp chipped in 15 and Jeffery Moss added 14. Cameron Payne also notched a double-double for the Racers with 12 points and 12 assists.
Payne and Sapp have proven to be the two top scorers for Murray State this season, while Williams's success down underneath the basket continues. Payne leads the team with 14.7 ppg, while Sapp is close behind at 14 ppg. Payne tops the squad with a solid 119 season assists for the Racers and 32 steals. Williams chips in 13.6 ppg and a team-best 10.4 rpg with 32 blocked shots. Moss is the fourth Racers scorer averaging double digits at 13.2 ppg.
Tennessee Tech and Belmont were playing a close match in the first half, as the Golden Eagles took a slim 36-32 lead into the intermission. Tennessee Tech was able to sustain the lead in the second frame and hang on for the five- point win. Craig Bradshaw led the Bruins in the game with 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Reece Chamberlain added 16 points, and J.J. Mann chipped in 13 points with 10 rebounds.
Mann and Bradshaw have separated themselves on the Bruins this season in terms of scoring. Mann tops the team with 17.2 ppg through 25 contests played, while Bradshaw checks in behind him at 16.1 ppg. Chamberlain, who leads the team with 94 assists on the season, is third with 11 ppg. Blake Jenkins tops the Bruins in rebounding at 5 rpg.
This battle will be one of the better ones to watch in the OVC this season. Murray State has had the edge against the Bruins in the past, but Belmont has been playing exceptionally well lately. The Racers should get more production underneath the basket and on the defensive end to deliver a victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 78, Belmont 74
02/06 10:15:42 ET