Austin Peay (5-17) at Murray State (15-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFSB Center (8,600) -- Murray, Kentucky. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: APSU 4-5. Murray State 6-2. Away Record: APSU 0-9, Murray State 7-2. Neutral Record: APSU 1-3, Murray State 2-1. Conference Record: APSU 1-7, Murray State 6-2. Series Record: Murray State leads, 76-41.
GAMES NOTES: Coming off a heartbreaking loss, the Murray State Racers will look to bounce back when they face off with the Austin Peay Governors in Ohio Valley Conference action at the CFSB Center.
It wasn't heartbreaking but it was still a loss for Austin Peay last time out as the Governors were dropped, 70-52, by Tennessee Tech. The setback was the fifth straight for the Governors who have been bottoming out of late and now sit at 8-11 overall and just 1-7 in league play. That has them alone in last place in the OVC. Austin Peay is also still in search of its first road win after falling in the first nine road trips. This begins a tough stretch for the Governors who will host Tennessee State and conference-leading Belmont in the next two games.
A pair of free throws from Jacksonville State's Brian Williams with two ticks left on the clock sank Murray State, 65-64, last Saturday. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Racers who are still a solid 15-5 overall on the campaign. That record includes a 6-2 mark against league foes which has the Racers tied with Eastern Kentucky for second place in the OVC. Murray State is also 6-2 at home where it will be again on Wednesday in a critical matchup with Belmont.
The Racers have won four straight and six of the last seven meetings between these squads including a 71-68 win earlier this season. That recent stretch falls in line with the all-time series which Murray State leads 76-41.
The outcome was pretty much determined at halftime in Austin Peay's loss against Tennessee Tech. The Governors trailed 44-23 going into the break after collecting just seven field goals while allowing the Golden Eagles to shoot 57.1 percent from the floor. Though the Governors outscored the Golden Eagles in the second half (29-26) the decision was never really in doubt.
Austin Peay's demise has been its inability to produce stops on the defensive end. The Governors are letting up an incredible 75.4 points per game this season on 45.5 percent shooting. Each of those marks is among the 50 worst in the country. The weak defensive showings have wiped away any positives on the offensive end where the Governors have held their own by scoring 70.5 points per game on 45.7 percent shooting. Travis Betran (17.4 ppg) has done all he can to keep the Governors on a torrid offensive pace as he ranks within the top five scorers in the conference. Anthony Campbell (14.2 ppg) and Will Triggs (12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg) provide addition scoring support, while Chris Horton (7.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 bpg) has been a lone bright spot on defense as the OVC's leading shot blocker.
Murray State trailed for almost the entire second half against Jacksonville State, by as many as 10 points at one point, but rallied to take a 64-63 lead with nine seconds left on a jumper from Brandon Garrett. However the comeback attempt was put to rest when Williams hit his free throws after being fouled by Jeffery Moss.
Murray State has generally performed well on both ends of the floor. The Racers rank third in the conference in both points per game (72) and field goal percentage (.457). On the defensive end the Racers have been solid, as they surrender 64 points per game on just over 40 percent from the field (.405). Leading the way is talented guard Isaiah Canaan (21.1 ppg, 4.1 apg), who not only ranks among the top scorers in the country but also manages to make an impact with his passing. Stacy Wilson is a nice complement on the perimeter, while Ed Daniel (14.2 ppg, 11.0 rpg) has been hanging double- doubles up all season in the frontcourt.
Austin Peay gave Murray State its best shot last time around and it still didn't matter. With the Racers back on their home floor expect more separation between these squads.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 78, Austin Peay 68
02/02 10:45:37 ET