Murray State (1-1) at Old Dominion (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 15, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ted Constant Convocation Center (8,424) -- Norfolk, Virginia. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 1-0, ODU 1-1. Away Record: MSU 0-1, ODU 0-0. Neutral Record: MSU 0-0, ODU 0-0. Conference Record: MSU 0-0, ODU 0-0. Series Record: Murray State leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Old Dominion Monarchs continue a lengthy homestand to tip off the 2013-14 campaign, as they host the Murray State Racers in non-conference action at the Constant Center in Norfolk.
ODU, which isn't scheduled to leave the friendly confines of Virginia until Nov. 26 when it tangles with West Virginia during the Cancun Challenge in Mexico, lost to Missouri State in overtime in the season tip-off last week, 79-67. More recently, the Monarchs were pitted against Howard on Wednesday night and managed to grab a convincing 77-57 win, the first victory for new head coach Jeff Jones.
Like the Monarchs, Murray State has also earned a split in the first two games of the season. The squad bowed to Valparaiso on the road last Friday by just three points, 77-74, but then bounced back in a big way with a massive 97-69 victory over Brescia on Tuesday at home for head coach Steve Prohm.
MSU has now won 24 straight home openers, with the last setback in such a game taking place in triple overtime versus Southern Illinois back in 1989.
Murray State won each of the first two meetings between the teams, the most recent being a 79-72 decision at home last season. The only other matchup took place almost two decades prior in Puerto Rico where the Racers secured a 76-71 victory.
Against Brescia, a school that operates at the NAIA level, the Racers knocked down an impressive 59.3 percent from the field in the first half and an even better 60.7 percent after the break as they cruised to the easy home win. Jeffery Moss delivered a team-best 21 points and Dexter Fields 20, but it was Jarvis Williams who made the most noise for Murray State with a double-double that consisted of 14 points and 14 rebounds. Coming off the bench C.J. Ford chipped in another 15 points as the team survived 14 turnovers on the night.
While it is still very early in the season, Fields heads a list of four players scoring in double figures with his 16.0 ppg, although his 33.3 percent effort behind the 3-point line is bringing the entire group down to just 32.4 percent. Still, as weak as that may seem, it is still far better than the competition which has made good on only 26.7 percent out on the perimeter heading into Friday's outing.
Except for Keenan Palmore who finished with a mere three points, shooting not only 1-of-4 from the floor but also an awful 1-of-8 at the free-throw line, every starter for the Monarchs hit for double figures in the victory over Howard earlier this week. Leading the way was Aaron Bacote with 20 points and five assists, followed by Jordan Baker and Dimitri Batten with 13 and 12 points, respectively. Denzell Taylor and Richard Ross both dropped in 10 points, the latter playing big in the middle as he also tallied 12 rebounds and six blocked shots.
ODU survived despite shooting an atrocious 13-of-30 (.433) at the charity stripe. After two games the level of accuracy for the Monarchs at the line has been dismal, with the team hitting on a mere 27-of-55 (.491), and yet they are still generating a solid 72.0 ppg. Bacote is responsible for 24.0 ppg and both Batten and Ross another 12.0 ppg, with Rose stepping up with 11.0 rpg and nine rejections.
If the Monarchs can ever figure out how to solve their issues at the free- throw line they might actually be dangerous, but for now they are probably just good enough to pull out the win tonight versus Murray State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Old Dominion 71, Murray State 67
11/15 10:31:06 ET