Southeast Missouri State (14-13) at Jacksonville State (15-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Mathews Coliseum (5,300) -- Jacksonville, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: SEMO 9-4, JSU 8-3. Away Record: SEMO 4-7, JSU 5-7. Neutral Record: SEMO 1-2, JSU 2-0. Conference Record: SEMO 6-7, JSU 7-7. Series Record: JSU leads, 12-5.
GAMES NOTES: The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks will put their three-game winning streak on the line against the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in Ohio Valley Conference action at Pete Mathews Coliseum Wednesday night.
With a 96-74 rout of Tennessee Martin on Saturday, the Redhawks have posted three straight wins for the first time since winning four straight at the end of December. The Redhawks are hovering right around .500 both in terms of their overall record (14-13) and their mark against conference foes (6-7). On the road SEMO has a 4-7 record but up next the Redhawks play their final home game of the regular season against Ball State in non-league action.
Jacksonville State is headed in the opposite direction with losses in its last three contests. The Gamecocks' most recent setback was an 80-67 defeat to Eastern Kentucky. The Gamecocks have been superior in terms of overall record at 15-10 but they have just a half game lead on the Redhawks in the league standings (7-7). At home the Gamecocks have an 8-3 record but they play their final two contests of the season on the road beginning against UNC Asheville.
These teams have been trading wins and losses over the last six meetings with Jacksonville State earning a 69-59 decision when they last met last February. The Gamecocks own a 12-5 all-time series record.
Marland Smith (22 points), Nick Niemczyk (21 points) and Lucas Nutt (20 points) all hit the 20-point plateau and SEMO shot 56.4 percent from the field to top Tennessee-Martin on Saturday. The Redhawks also blocked nine shots and held the Skyhawks to 37 percent shooting.
SEMO is one of the better offensive teams in the conference this season. The Redhawks are ranked third in the league in points (72.6ppg) and field-goal percentage (.462) while sitting in fourth in assists (14.6 pg). The Redhawks are at the top of the conference in rebounds (37.2 pg). However defensive efforts have been less stellar, as the Redhawks are allowing 70.6 points per game to foes. Tyler Stone (15.4 ppg, 7.9 rpg) and Nino Johnson (10.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.6 bpg) are a solid frontcourt duo that score and rebound well while Johnson is second in the league in blocks. Corey Wilford (14.2 ppg) is the top scoring option in the backcourt, while Nutt (6.1 ppg, 4.7 apg) leads the league in assists.
Though they did manage a 25-11 edge in points off turnovers the Gamecocks allowed the Colonels to shoot 53.4 percent from the field and knock down nine 3-pointers on Saturday. Tarvin Gaines put in 21 points in the contest in which the Gamecocks were outrebounded by a 32-25 margin.
Jacksonville State isn't as productive an offensive team as SEMO. The Gamecocks are putting in 65.9 points per game which has them ranked in the bottom quarter of teams in the OVC. The Gamecocks are also one of the worst rebounding teams in the conference as they bring in just 28.4 points per game which is also among the bottom 10 squads nationally. Three different players are scoring in double figures for Jacksonville State, although outside of that trio none is putting in more than 5.5 points per game. Gaines (15.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg) is the leading option, while Brian Williams (13.2 ppg, 4.3 apg) scores while leading the offense. Ronnie Boggs (11.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) shoots 47.2 percent from the field as the third-best scorer.
This contest could have a lot to say about seeding once the OVC Tournament comes around. The Redhawks have more balance in the front and backcourts but playing at home, Jacksonville State's more guard-heavy lineup may be at an advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Jacksonville State 66, SE Missouri State 63
02/20 11:02:06 ET