Youngstown State (2-0) vs. Eastern Kentucky (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 10, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: KSU Convocation Center (4,792) -- Kennesaw, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: YSU 0-0, EKU 0-0. Away Record: YSU 0-0, EKU 0-0. Neutral Record: YSU 2-0, EKU 0-0. Conference Record: YSU 0-0, EKU 0-0. Series Record: Youngstown State leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: After both the Youngstown State Penguins and the Eastern Kentucky Colonels earned wins in the first two days of the event, they face each other on Sunday afternoon as the Kennesaw State Men's Basketball Tournament wraps up at the KSU Convocation Center.
Youngstown State had its most successful season in more than a decade in 2012-13, finishing 18-14 overall, and that momentum has carried over into the new season with wins in each of its first two games. After taking care of host Kennesaw State on Friday night (73-57), the Penguins fought back from 13 points down late in the second half on Saturday against FIU to force overtime, and in the extra session, Kamren Belin drilled the game-winning bucket with four seconds left to lift them to a 74-72 triumph.
EKU is also coming off a strong 2012-13 season, as its 25 wins was a school record, and much like Youngstown State, it has come out firing this season with two straight wins. The Colonels made easy work of FIU on Friday night, 83-61, then held off the Kennesaw State on Saturday afternoon, 68-60.
Youngstown State has a 5-3 advantage over EKU in the all-time series, most recently winning in February of 2007, 66-61.
Belin sparked the Penguins in Saturday's victory with 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. He also added six rebounds and two blocks in 38 minutes of work. Kendrick Perry (15 points) wasn't at his best from the field (5-of-13), but he helped out in other ways with five assists and three steals. Ryan Weber chipped in 11 points, Bobby Hain narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine boards, and DJ Cole handed out eight assists. Through two games, Youngstown State has displayed solid play on both ends of the floor, scoring 73.5 points per game while holding opponents to just 37.1 percent field goal efficiency. Perry, the second-leading scorer in the Horizon League a season ago, is off to a similar pace this year with 17.5 points per game. Weber (14.5 ppg) has been deadly from 3-point range, hitting 7-of-11 attempts, while Belin (13.5 ppg) hasn't been quite as trustworthy from beyond the arc (4-of-13).
The Colonels suffered a scare against a lowly Kennesaw State club, which has won a total of six games since the start of the 2011-12 season, as they found themselves down by two with just over 14 minutes to play in the second half. But from their they were able to rip off an 18-7 run and never looked back. EKU's guard-heavy lineup was paced by Corey Walden with 21 points on 6-of-9 from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Marcus Lewis netted 19 points and was also efficient with his field goal attempts (8-of-11). Glenn Cosey added 15 points and four assists but shot just 3-of-12 from the floor and turned the ball over five times. EKU has made a living from beyond the arc in the early going, making 16 3-pointers through two games. Lewis leads the way with 17.5 points per game and he's only missed five of his 20 field goal attempts (.750). Cosey and Walden have poured in 16.0 points per game apiece. Cosey has contributed across the stat sheet with 5.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game as well.
These squads both rely heavily on the outside shot, and whichever has the hotter shooters will likely win. EKU has a solid core of talented and experienced players, but YSU has the game's best player in Perry, and if he can find his stroke down the stretch, it will be the Penguins who will get off to a 3-0 start.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Youngstown State 76, Eastern Kentucky 75
11/10 10:48:47 ET