Eastern Kentucky (18-6) at Morehead State (11-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 9, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ellis Johnson Arena (6,500) -- Morehead, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: EKU 12-1. Morehead State 8-3. Away Record: EKU 6-5, Morehead State 3-10. Neutral Record: EKU 0-0, Morehead State 0-0. Conference Record: EKU 7-3, Morehead State 5-5. Series Record: EKU leads, 105-74.
GAMES NOTES: The Easter Kentucky Colonels will roll into Ellis Johnson Arena on Saturday night as they face the Morehead State Eagles in Ohio Valley Conference play.
After a two-game skein Eastern Kentucky has gotten back on track with consecutive wins. The most recent victory was a 97-31 rout of Crowley's Ridge College, though the Colonels managed an 81-72 victory over Southeast Missouri State in their last test against a Division I opponent. The Colonels are now 18-6 overall, including a 7-3 mark in OVC action, tied with Tennessee State for third in the conference standings. Eastern Kentucky will open up a three- game homestand against Tennessee Tech next.
Morehead State has lost three of its last four games entering play after a 79-59 setback against Jacksonville State last Saturday. The recent losing tend has pushed the Eagles below .500 overall on the season (11-13) and to an even 5-5 split in conference play. In its home games Morehead State has managed a solid 8-3 mark, including a 3-1 ledger against OVC squads. This is the first in a four-game homestand for the Eagles who host Jacksonville State in a rematch next time out.
In the first matchup this season Eastern Kentucky pulled out a 59-52 victory. The victory ended a three-game winning streak for Morehead State. The Colonels now lead the all-time series by a 105-74 margin.
Eastern Kentucky was dominant against Crowley's Ridge as it shot 55.1 percent from the floor, including a 12-of-31 effort from beyond the arc. The Colonels also allowed just 11 total field goals in the game, while forcing 36 turnovers.
It hasn't just taken games out of the Division I level for Eastern KEntucky to light up the scoreboard. The Colonels are the second-highest scoring team in the OVC (73.3 ppg) as well as its second-best shooting squad (.474). By allowing just 64.5 points per game the Colonels have also enjoyed a nearly nine-point scoring differential. Mike DiNunno (15.9 ppg, 4.3 apg) has not only been the best scorer on the roster but also the best distributor. DiNunno ranks among the top 10 players in the conference in scoring and assists. Glenn Cosey (15.2 ppg, 3.4 apg) is another solid scorer who has had success when looking to pass as well. Cory Walden (12.0 ppg) is the third and final member of the squad scoring in double figures.
In its loss to Jacksonville State, Morehead State allowed the Gamecocks to shoot a ridiculous 65.9 percent from the floor, including a 6-of-11 effort from 3-point range. Meanwhile the Eagles hit 35.8 percent from the field but just a single triple on 10 attempts. The discrepancy in shooting erased the benefits the Eagles may have had with a 37-15 edge in rebounds. Morehead State also turned the ball over 25 times.
Offensively speaking Morehead State has been closer to the middle of the pack this season. The Eagles rank fifth in the conference in points (71 pg) and seventh in field-goal percentage (.431). The Eagles do own a positive scoring margin (+0.9) but by letting up 70.1 points per game on 44.8 percent shooting they have not exactly dominated opponents. There's a bit more balance offensively for Morehead State with Milton Chavis (11.0 ppg) the leading scorer on a team that has seven players scoring at least seven points per game. Angelo Warner (10.0 ppg) is the only other player in double figures, while Devon Atkinson (7.0 ppg, 5.2 apg) has preferred to set his teammates up as the second leading passer in the conference.
This is important for Eastern Kentucky if it is going to contend for the top spot in the OVC. Though the Eagles can score relatively well they can't compete with the Colonels in that regard.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 79, Morehead State 71
02/09 10:32:34 ET