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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 18, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Paul S. McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: JSU 7-2, EKU 6-1. Away Record: JSU 1-9, EKU 5-4. Neutral Record: JSU 1-1, EKU 1-1. Conference Record: JSU 3-3, EKU 3-2. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 13-7.
GAME NOTES: Coming off an upset win just two nights ago, the Eastern Kentucky Colonels try to run their win streak to three in a row tonight as they host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in Ohio Valley Conference action at McBrayer Arena.
An impressive 6-1 at home this season, the Colonels raised more than a few eyebrows on Thursday night when they took down visiting Belmont, the top team in the East Division of the OVC, by a score of 74-63. The win was the second in a row and the fifth in the last seven outings for EKU, which is now 3-2 in league action.
As for the Gamecocks, the start to the 2014 calendar year has been a bit disappointing, with the team winning just two of five decisions. One of those triumphs did take place on Thursday though, with the squad posting a 70-64 victory at home versus Tennessee State. In their own building the Gamecocks are a solid 7-2, but in true road games they've won just once in 10 opportunities.
The Colonels lead the all-time series by a count of 13-7, posting an unblemished 9-0 mark in Richmond over the years. EKU swept the series last season and has now won six in a row over the Gamecocks.
Jacksonville State led by as many as 19 points late in the first half two nights ago, shooting 58.3 percent from the field, but the team was lucky to hold on for the victory when you consider they made only six field goals after the break. D.J. Felder was responsible for 17 points, followed by reserve Darion Rackley who tallied 15 points and Brian Williams with 14, as the latter two shot a combined 17-of-23 at the free-throw line.
Now 21 games into the season, JSU is shooting a collective 42.8 percent from the field as it generates 66.5 ppg, falling 3.0 ppg under the competition. There isn't a single offensive star that the Gamecocks can ask to take over games, instead they have Rackley and Williams putting up 12.7 and 11.1 ppg, respectively.
Eastern Kentucky was easily beaten on the glass by Belmont, 37-24, and came away with just five offensive rebounds on Thursday, but the effort of the Colonels in the paint was not a complete loss as they outscored the visitors by a 38-16 margin, en route to a spirited 11-point win. Four starters scored in double figures, led by Corey Walden with 18 points, followed by Glenn Cosey with 13, Tarius Johnson 12 points and Eric Stutz 10 to go along with his five assists.
Sporting one of the better scoring defenses among OVC programs, EKU is limiting the opposition to 69.1 ppg, forcing foes into 17.4 turnovers per contest. From an offensive standpoint, Cosey leads the way with 18.7 ppg, having made good on a team-high 57 shots from 3-point range, while Walden pitches in with 13.7 ppg, a number that could be even higher if not for the fact that he has picked up enough personal fouls to be disqualified in five outings.
It might be difficult for the Colonels to repeat their effort and bring the same intensity that they possessed for the meeting with Belmont, but being at home this evening will surely help.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 67, Jacksonville State 64
01/18 10:23:33 ET
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