Southern Illinois (2-7) at Murray State (4-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: CFSB Center (8,600) -- Murray, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: SIU 1-2, MSU 4-1. Away Record: SIU 0-3, MSU 0-4. Neutral Record: SIU 1-2, MSU 0-0. Conference Record: SIU 0-0, MSU 0-0. Series Record: Southern Illinois leads, 16-14.
GAME NOTES: The Murray State Racers will attempt to put an exclamation point on a three-game homestand when they face the Southern Illinois Salukis in non- conference action at the CFSB Center on Tuesday night.
For Southern Illinois, the goal is to stop a losing streak. The Salukis have dropped three straight and four of their last five overall to fall to 2-7 on the season, which includes an 0-3 mark on the road. SIU will host its next two games against Ball State and SIU-Edwardsville.
After a rough start, the Racers have begun to turn things around with wins in back-to-back games -- Evansville (65-63) and Lipscomb (73-69). Although the triumphs have come by slim margins, Murray State is threatening the .500 mark overall (4-5) thanks to a 4-1 mark at home. The Racers hit the road to battle Western Kentucky this Saturday.
Southern Illinois has won six of the last seven meetings between these two squads, including a 62-46 triumph in the most recent matchup in 2006. As a result, the Salukis lead the all-time series, 16-14.
In their last outing, the Salukis matched up with Western Kentucky and fell short in a 69-60 final. Southern Illinois really hurt itself with turnovers as it was outscored, 20-11, off takeaways while coughing up the ball 14 times. The Salukis were also dominated in scoring from beyond the arc (30-15).
As usual, it was Desmar Jackson (20.3 ppg) and Anthony Beane (13 ppg) who carried the offensive load for the Salukis in that game. Beane was the leading scorer with 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Jackson was below his normal levels, but still managed to tally 15 points. The duo doesn't get much help from the rest of the roster, as Jalen Pendleton (10.8 ppg) is the only other player netting more than six points per game. Pendleton has been both a starter and reserve this season, and he had seven points off the bench against the Hilltoppers. As a team, the Salukis are scoring an even 70 points per game while shooting a solid 47.2 percent from the floor.
Even though the final score indicated a tight contest, Murray State never trailed against Lipscomb. The Racers had six players reach double figures while connecting on 41.8 percent of their field goal attempts. Leading the way was Jeffery Moss (14 points), while Jarvis Williams posted a double-double (10 points, 13 rebounds).
Murray State is scoring just a tad better than the Salukis at the moment, as the Racers produce 72.6 points per game on 46 percent field goal efficiency. Those efforts have largely been muted by the team's effort on defense as it has a slight deficit (-0.3) on the scoreboard. Spreading the wealth is a real strength for Murray State, which has four players averaging double figures in the scoring column. Cameron Payne (13.2 ppg, 5.4 apg) heads the list, while also finding time to top the team in assists. Moss (13.1 ppg) is the second options, while Williams (12.8 ppg, 11.3 rpg) is as close to a lock for a nightly double-double as any player in the country. Dexter Fields (11.6 ppg) rounds out the double-digit scoring threats for the Racers.
With their balanced offensive attack and ability to find ways to win at home, the Racers should push themselves to .500 with a solid win over the Salukis.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 72, Southern Illinois 65
12/17 10:34:38 ET