Nebraska Omaha (17-14) at Murray State (19-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, March 24, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFSB Center (8,600) -- Murray, Kentucky. Television: None. CIT Record: Nebraska Omaha 1-0, Murray State 1-0. Series Record: First- ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The only CollegeInsiders.com Tournament contest being played Monday features the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks traveling to Kentucky to face the Murray State Racers at the CFSB Center.
The winner of this game will advance to the CIT quarterfinals and will face a team yet to be determined.
Nebraska Omaha, which was booted from the Summit League Tournament by IPFW in an overtime battle, took on the Big Sky Conference's North Dakota in the first round of the CIT. The Mavericks came away victorious in the contest, 91-75.
Murray State was dropped by eventual Ohio Valley Conference champion Eastern Kentucky in the semifinal round of the conference postseason. The Racers bounced back with a first-round win in the CIT over Missouri State, 66-63.
This clash between the Mavericks and the Racers represents the first time these programs will battle it out on the hardwood.
The victory for Nebraska Omaha over North Dakota in the first round of CIT action represented the very first Division I postseason win for the Mavericks in their school history. Omaha took a nine-point lead over North Dakota at the end of the first half, and only continued to increase that lead as the minutes ticked away in the second half. Mike Rostampour had a phenomenal game for the Mavericks, netting 16 points and pulling down a career-high 21 rebounds. John Karhoff paced Omaha in the scoring department with 17 points, while C.J. Carter chipped in 14 and Alex Phillips and Marcus Tyus each contributed 13 points in the win.
Carter and Karhoff top the Mavericks in scoring this season, with Crater leading the way with 13.9 ppg, adding a team high-tying 104 assists to his resume. Devin Patterson (10.0 ppg) shares the title of assists leader with Carter, and has recorded a team-best 55 steals. Karhoff adds 13.3 ppg for the Mavericks, and Justin Simmons chips in 10.1 ppg. Rostampour tops the squad with a 7.3 rpg mark.
Murray State trailed Missouri State by a single point at the end of the first half in the team's first-round CIT battle. But it was the Racers, led by Cameron Payne, who came back in the final seconds to clinch the three-point victory. Payne gave Murray State a one-point advantage, 64-63, by connecting on a jumper with 20 seconds left to play. Then a pair of free throws from the star freshman iced the win with seven seconds left. Payne scored 19 points in the win, but he was bested by teammate Jarvis Williams, who tallied a double- double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Jeffery Moss rounded out the Racers' double-digit scorers in the outing with 10 points, pulling down eight boards.
Payne's stellar freshman season for Murray State continues for at least one more game. Payne, who fills the scoring void left by former Murray State star Isaiah Canaan, tops the team with a 16.3 ppg average, and also leads the Racers with 162 assists on the year. The big man Williams continues to be a force underneath the basket, averaging a double-double with 14.6 ppg and 10.4 rpg. T.J. Sapp contributes 14 ppg and Moss adds 13.3 ppg for Murray State, which scores 77.1 ppg as a unit.
Murray State had legitimate hopes of making it back to the NCAA Tournament, but after a loss in the semifinal round of the OVC postseason that hope died quickly. Still, Murray State's starting rotation is a scoring machine, and although the defense isn't as solid, the Racers shouldn't have much of an issue taking down the Mavericks at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 76, Nebraska Omaha 71
03/24 10:33:04 ET