Murray State (15-4) at Jacksonville State (13-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Mathews Coliseum (5,300) -- Jacksonville, Alabama. Television: Racer Television Network. Home Record: Murray State 6-2. JSU 6-3. Away Record: Murray State 7-1, JSU 5-4. Neutral Record: Murray State 2-1, JSU 2-0. Conference Record: Murray State 6-1, JSU 5-4. Series Record: Murray State leads, 16-0.
GAMES NOTES: The Murray State Racers will put their four-game winning streak on the line when they face off with the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in an Ohio Valley Conference battle at Pete Mathews Coliseum.
It wasn't pretty but Murray State extended its winning streak on Thursday with a 47-39 victory over Tennessee Tech. The win improved Murray State's overall record to 15-4, while keeping the Racers on pace near the top of the OVC standings where they are currently in a tie for second place with Eastern Kentucky. Playing on the road hasn't phased Murray State to this point with the team 7-1 in away contests. A three-game homestand awaits the Racers next beginning against Austin Peay.
Jacksonville State snapped a short losing streak with an 81-74 win over Austin Peay on Thursday. With the win the Gamecocks are now 13-7 overall while moving above .500 in conference play (5-4). The win also came in the second game of this current four-contest homestand for Jacksonville State that wraps up next Saturday against Morehead State. The Gamecocks are 6-3 when hosting.
Jacksonville State will be trying to make history as the Gamecocks have never beaten the Racers in 16 all-time meetings.
Despite shooting just 34 percent from the field, including a ghastly 1-of-18 effort from beyond the arc, Murray State was able to get by Tennessee Tech by slowing the Golden Eagles to just 25.5 percent shooting. OVC leading scorer Isaiah Canaan had a rough night by his standards as he scored 15 points on 15 field goal attempts.
Normally scoring has not proved to be too much of a difficulty for the Racers or Canaan for that matter. As a team Murray State is ranked second in the OVC in scoring (72.4 ppg), while shooting .459 from the floor. That has allowed the Racers to compile a scoring margin of nearly +9 as they allow 63.9 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting. Canaan (21.2 ppg, 4.1 apg) got more headlines when the Racers flirted with an undefeated season last year but has been just as productive this time around. Ed Daniel (14.4 ppg, 10.7 rpg) complements Canaan nicely in the frontcourt as a double-double threat night in and night out. Stacy Wilson (13.2 pg, 4.7 rpg) provides additional scoring depth.
Jacksonville State got out to a 37-26 lead at halftime and then shot 58.3 percent from the field, while putting together a 13-of-15 effort from the free-throw line to take down Austin Peay. The Gamecocks really got out in transition and had a 19-9 edge in fast break points.
Lead scorer Tarvin Gaines (14.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg) had one of his best games of the season in the victory as he poured in a game and season-high 28 points on 11- of-18 shooting. The 6-foot-6 forward has scored in double figures in six straight games entering this contest. Also contributing to the offensive efforts are Brian Williams (12.0 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Ronnie Boggs (11.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg). Jacksonville State is near the bottom of the OVC in terms of team scoring though, ranking ninth in points per game (65.1). A major weakness for the squad is on the glass where the Gamecocks bring in just 29.8 rebounds per game, ranking 10th in the OVC.
Having Daniel will be a big lift for Murray State as Jacksonville State does not have much in terms of frontcourt depth. Add in that Canaan is more likely to bounce back then regress and the Racers should continue to dominate the Gamecocks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 74, Jacksonville State 65
01/26 10:32:35 ET