Murray State (7-7) at Eastern Kentucky (10-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 7-1, EKU 5-0. Away Record: MSU 0-6, EKU 4-4. Neutral Record: MSU 0-0, EKU 1-1. Conference Record: MSU 2-0, EKU 1-1. Series Record: Murray State leads, 95-60.
GAME NOTES: The Murray State Racers will try to solve their road woes when they visit McBrayer Arena to take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup.
Murray State opened its OVC slate with a pair of home wins last week; an 82-75 victory over Southeast Missouri on Thursday followed by a 91-77 triumph over UT Martin on Sunday. However, the Racers are winless in six road games this season. Beginning tonight, they'll play three of their next four on the road.
Meanwhile, Eastern Kentucky has gone 5-0 at home this season and enters this tilt with a nine-game winning streak at McBrayer Arena dating back to last season. The Colonels are coming off Saturday's 85-79 setback at SIU Edwardsville. That loss snapped a three-game win streak.
This will be Murray State's first game in Richmond since the 2010-11 season. The Racers lead the all-time series with EKU, 95-60.
Clemson transfer T.J. Sapp, a junior guard, has averaged a team-best 16 ppg while shooting 48 percent from 3-point range in the five games since he became eligible. His addition has provided a solid complement to freshman guard Cameron Payne, who is averaging 14.7 ppg and is coming off a 27-point effort in the win over UT Martin. Payne was deadly from beyond the arc in that contest, as he knocked down 6-of-10 threes en route to OVC Freshman of the Week honors for the third time already this season. Jarvis Williams, a junior college transfer, was named OVC Newcomer of the Week as he averaged 18 points and 16.5 rebounds in last week's wins against SEMO and UTM. Williams tallied 20 points and 15 boards against the Skyhawks and is averaging a double-double on the season (13.7 ppg, 10.9 rpg). As a team, the Racers are +25 in rebounding margin over their last two games and are 6-0 this season when winning the rebounding battle, compared to 0-7 when they are outrebounded.
Murray State's size advantage in the paint presents a matchup problem for EKU and its four-guard lineup. While the Racers have shot 51 percent or better from the field in each of their last four games, they have also given up 80- plus points in the last two. In their last outing, they surrendered a late 14-2 run and were unable to recover. In addition, they were outrebounded by a 33-22 margin and allowed SIUE to shoot an efficient 58 percent from the floor. Glenn Cosey led all scorers with 23 points in the loss, while Corey Walden and Orlando Williams scored 19 and 18, respectively. Cosey is this week's OVC Player of the Week after tying the conference record with 10 3-pointers en route to a career-high 34 points at Eastern Illinois last Thursday. He leads EKU and ranks third in the OVC with an average of 20 points per game.
EKU has yet to lose at home and Murray State has yet to win on the road this season. Still, the Racers face a tough challenge down low against a bigger Racers team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 73, Eastern Kentucky 68
01/08 10:32:44 ET