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North Dakota State (6-2) at Morehead State (4-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 5, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ellis Johnson Arena (6,500) -- Morehead, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: NDSU 3-0, Morehead State 3-0. Away Record: NDSU 1-2, Morehead State 0-4. Neutral Record: NDSU 2-0, Morehead State 1-0. Conference Record: NDSU 1-0, Morehead State 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Morehead State Eagles will try to keep their undefeated home record alive on Wednesday night when they host the North Dakota State Bison at Ellis Johnson Area.
North Dakota State is off to an impressive start this season, with its only two losses coming in a pair of difficult road games at Green Bay (74-59) and at No. 1 Indiana (87-61). The Bison began Summit League action in their last bout, making easy work of Omaha at home, 95-51.
Morehead State has challenged itself with a difficult slate of road games in the early going and it has come away emptied-handed against Maryland (67-45), Kentucky (81-70), Marshall (70-67) and Wright State (66-57). Luckily the Eagles return to their home arena in this matchup, where they are 3-0 this season.
This bout marks the inaugural meeting between these two programs on the hardwood.
The Bison put together their best shooting performance of the season in their Summit League opener against Omaha. They made good on a lofty 58.1 percent of their field goal attempts in a 44-point blowout victory, including 15 three- pointers, one trey shy of a single-game school record. Seven of those long- range buckets came from Taylor Braun, tying a program-best, on his way to 26 points while also adding nine rebounds. TrayVonn Wright and Marshall Bjorklund each scored 14 points, Lawrence Alexander had 13 points, and Chris Kading came off the bench to chip in 10 points. The impressive night from the field was no rare occurrence for North Dakota State, which makes nearly 48 percent of its field goal attempts for 73.4 ppg. Braun is clearly the catalyst, as he leads the team in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounding (6.4 rpg), assists (30), and steals (11), and he has already been named the Summit League Player of the Week and the MVP of the Legends Classic in Pittsburgh. Bjorklund tallies 11.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg, and Mike Felt (11.4 ppg) has been deadly from three-point range (24- of-51).
Morehead State has a modest field goal percentage through eight games (.435), but it is able to score 3.6 ppg more than its opponents by sporting a plus-4.3 rebounding margin and by forcing nearly 20 turnovers per game. The Eagles actually shot 50 percent from the field in their latest game against Wright State, but they also committed an uncharacteristic 25 turnovers en route to just 57 points, their second-lowest point total of the season. Jarrett Stokes drained two of the teams five three-pointers on his way to 12 points, while Devon Atkinson and Angelo Warner scored 11 points apiece. Milton Chavis scored just four points on 2-of-3 shooting, but on the season he has been the team's only consistent source of points with 15.8 ppg. He connects on 52 percent of his field goal attempts, including 15-of-29 from beyond the arc (.517). Kahlil Owens grabs a team-high 6.3 rpg and is one of four players to average between 7.0 and 7.9 ppg.
The Eagles have been impressive at home, but they have yet to show the ability to knock off a quality opponent. North Dakota State comes into this matchup hot, and it has the right combination of scoring depth and physicality to pull off an impressive road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: North Dakota State 74, Morehead State 68
12/05 10:35:24 ET