Eastern Kentucky (10-4) at SIU Edwardsville (3-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 4, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Illinois. Television: FSN-MW. Home Record: EKU 5-0, SIUE 3-3. Away Record: EKU 4-3, SIUE 0-6. Neutral Record: EKU 1-1, SIUE 0-2. Conference Record: EKU 1-0, SIUE 0-1. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels will try to extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday night, as they visit the Vadalabene Center to take on the SIU Edwardsville Cougars in Ohio Valley Conference action.
EKU hit a slide in late November and early December by losing three of four, but it has righted the ship in recent weeks with three consecutive victories, most recently downing Eastern Illinois in its OVC opener on Thursday night, 100-81. EKU is now 10-4 on the season, which includes a solid 4-3 mark on the road.
SIUE also began OVC play on Thursday night on, although it fell on the wrong end of a 70-63 decision at home to Morehead State. The Cougars have now lost five of their last six contests to dip to 3-11 on the season.
The Colonels lead the all-time series with SIUE, 3-2. The teams have split the two meetings in Edwardsville.
EKU opened up OVC play earlier in the week in explosive fashion, shooting 59.6 percent from the field en route to its second 100-point output of the season. The main reason for the outburst was the red-hot performance from Glenn Cosey, who scored 34 points thanks to a school-record 10 3-pointers. His 10-of-12 performance from beyond the arc also tied an OVC record, and he helped out his teammates as well with six assists. Not to be overshadowed was Corey Walden, who scored 17 points, while Marcus Lewis and Timmy Knipp put up 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The Colonels have gotten used to high scoring outputs this season, as they shoot 48.3 percent from the field (including 9.9 3-pointers per game at a 37.8 percent clip) for 79.9 ppg. They also rank in the top-five nationally in both turnover margin (+7.3) and steals (10.4 pg). Cosey leads the way with 19.8 ppg and has made 51-of-114 from long distance. Lewis (12.5 ppg), Walden (11.9 ppg) and Orlando Williams (10.9 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers.
SIUE trailed Morehead State for most of the its Thursday night contest, including by as many as 13 in the second half, but while it managed to bring its deficit to just two in the final two minutes on a Kris Davis dunk, it would get no closer as it dropped the seven-point decision. It shot a lousy 32 percent from the field on the night, committed 19 turnovers and only managed to hang around thanks to a 25-of-37 showing at the foul line. Donivine Stewart impressed in the setback with 17 points, while Keaton Jackson came off the bench to register 10 points.
The Cougars normally boast a rather modest offensive attack, scoring 71.8 ppg on 44.8 percent from the field, but that output hasn't been strong enough to support their porous defense, which yields 79.8 ppg on greater than 51 percent field goal shooting. Stewart is the only player in double figures with 11.1 ppg, and he also hands out 3.9 apg. Maurice Wiltz brings 9.4 ppg to the table on 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Even though SIUE has been able to remain competitive in most of its home games, EKU is clearly the superior team, and the Colonels hot-shooting ways from long distance will get the best of the lackluster Cougars defense in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 81, SIU Edwardsville 68
01/04 10:43:33 ET