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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 9, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFSB Center (8,500) -- Murray, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: EKU 9-0, MSU 4-1. Away Record: EKU 3-3, MSU 5-1. Neutral Record: EKU 0-0, MSU 2-1. Conference Record: EKU 2-0, MSU 2-0. Series Record: Murray State leads, 98-60.
GAME NOTES: One team's dream of a perfect Ohio Valley Conference record will be shattered on Wednesday as the Eastern Kentucky Colonels take on the Murray State Racers at the CFSB Center.
EKU is nearing its win total from 2011-12, when it finished 16-16 as it is 12-3 overall and 2-0 in conference action after a 78-72 road win over SIU Edwardsville on Saturday. Jeff Neubauer's Colonels are currently on a two-game winning streak, but they are only 3-3 in road games. EKU has the third best scoring margin in the conference (+8.1) in part due to its .468 field goal percentage, which ranks second among OVC schools.
Steve Prohm's Racers were undefeated at this point last season in his first year at the helm of the program. Year two of the Prohm era has been exciting for Murray State fans as it 11-3 overall, including 2-0 versus the OVC. The Racers earned their second triumph in a row on Saturday by edging SE Missouri State, 74-66. Murray State's three losses came to very tough opposition in Colorado, Dayton, and Valparaiso.
These Bluegrass State rivals have met 158 times before in history with Murray State holding a sizeable 98-60 all-time series lead. The Racers have won the last seven meetings between these schools including a nine-point decision in Murray last January.
Despite allowing the Cougars to hit on 60.0 percent (12-of-20) of their field goal attempts in the first half, the Colonels led 37-28 at the intermission by hitting on 5-of-15 shots from beyond the arc while having 10 more field goal attempts than SIUE. Eastern Kentucky traded in 17 Cougar turnovers for 17 points and had a 19-11 edge from the free throw line. Mike DiNunno scored 17 points to lead a balanced effort. Corey Walden added 16 points off the bench, Eric Stutz had 13 points, and Orlando Williams also contributed 12 in relief work. EKU's top two scorers, Glenn Cosey (15.0 ppg) and DiNunno (14.2 ppg), have both found great success from long range, as the two have combined for 81 treys and have made them at greater than 39 percent efficiency.
The Racers have been moving at top speed over the past two seasons due to the elite play of their point guard Isaiah Canaan. The senior floor general poured in 28 points to propel the team past the Redhawks on Saturday and raise his OVC leading scoring mark to 21.4 ppg. Canaan has plenty of help. Ed Daniel is carrying a double-double average with 15.4 points and 11 boards per outing, while Stacy Wilson provides a third scoring option with 14.2 ppg. The trio accounts for just over two-thirds of MSU's scoring, which is pacing the OVC at 75.2 ppg.
EKU's strong start to the season did not feature any wins or close losses that would indicate its capable of downing MSU on the road. The Racers should be able to easily collect another victory in this one and even if the Colonels give a huge effort to keep it close, Canaan rarely lets his squad down in the pressure moments.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 76, Eastern Kentucky 64
01/09 10:36:14 ET
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