Murray State (12-8) at Austin Peay (9-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, January 31, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dunn Center (9,000) -- Clarksville, Tennessee. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: MSU 10-1, APSU 7-3. Away Record: MSU 2-7, APSU 1-8. Neutral Record: MSU 0-0, APSU 1-1. Conference Record: MSU 7-1, APSU 3-4. Series Record: Murray State leads, 77-41.
GAME NOTES: The Murray State Racers continue their quest for the Ohio Valley Conference crown, when they take on the Austin Peay Governors in league action at the Dunn Center on Friday.
Steve Prohm's Racers are a modest 12-8 on the season, but have performed at a much higher level in the OVC, sitting atop the OVC West Division standings. Murray State has won two straight and seven of its last eight games. With a 73-65 victory over Jacksonville State last weekend, the Racers moved to 7-1 in the conference.
Dave Loos' Governors have struggled both in and out of conference play this season, currently sitting at just 9-12 overall. Consistency in the OVC has also been a problem, with APSU going 3-4 thus far, good for fourth place in the West Division. The Govs were able to end a four-game losing streak last weekend with an 83-69 win over Tennessee Tech.
Murray State holds a 77-41 edge in the all-time series with Austin Peay and is seeking the regular-season sweep after posting an 89-67 win at home on Jan. 11.
The Racers used a 10-0 run the second half to keep JSU at arm's length in earning the eight-point win at home. MSU held a 40-25 edge in rebounding, and held a 20-14 advantage in the points from the free-throw line. Jeffery Moss and Cameron Payne led the team with 16 points each in the win. Jarvis Williams tacked on 13 points and Dexter Fields finished with 10. Jonathan Fairell just missed a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds.
Payne doesn't receive the press that some of the standout freshmen in the nation get, but the 6-foot-2 youngster has had a terrific season thus far, leading the Racers in both scoring (14.9 ppg) and assists (5.4 apg). Transfer T.J. Sapp (13.9 ppg) has made an immediate impact as well. Scoring depth for MSU comes in the form of Moss (13.2 ppg) and Williams (12.9 ppg). The 6-8 Williams is second in the OVC in rebounding, grabbing 10.2 per game.
Suffering from a -1.2 scoring margin, it isn't surprising that Austin Peay has struggled to reach .500 on the season. The team does shoot the ball well at a .487 clip, leading to 74.7 ppg, but opponents are scoring at a 75.9 ppg rate. Big man Chris Horton headlines the play for APSU in the low post, averaging team-highs with a near double-double at 13.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Travis Betran provides perimeter balance at 13.4 ppg, leading the team with 52 3-pointers. Will Triggs bolsters the play in the frontcourt with 12.5 ppg. Damarius Smith adds a modest 8.9 ppg, but leads the conference with 5.9 apg.
The Governors erupted for 83 points against Tennessee Tech, shooting a scorching .676 from the floor, including a 7-of-12 effort from behind the arc, while delivering on 26-of-32 from the charity stripe. Betran led the way with 20 points in the win. Smith just missed a double-double with 18 points and nine assists. Triggs did complete the feat, recording his first double-double of the season with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Horton came up just short as well, with 12 points and nine boards.
It is crucial for Murray State to get off to a strong start to its three-game road swing. The Governors are coming off an impressive performance last time out, but are too inconsistent to be counted on from game to game.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 74, Austin Peay 66
01/31 10:32:52 ET