Belmont (15-4) at Morehead State (10-10)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ellis Johnson Arena (6,500) -- Morehead, Kentucky.
Television: None. Home Record: Belmont 8-0, MSU 7-2. Away Record: Belmont 5-3,
MSU 2-8. Neutral Record: Belmont 2-1, MSU 1-0. Conference Record: Belmont 6-0,
MSU 4-2. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Belmont Bruins will try to keep their current winning streak
in tact, as they travel to Ellis Johnson Arena for an Ohio Valley Conference
bout with the Morehead State Eagles.
Belmont's inaugural season as a member of the OVC could not have started any
better, as it has won each of its first six conference games since the start
of the new year, culminating in a 78-66 home victory over Tennessee State last
Saturday. In addition to the current six-game run, the Bruins have won eight
of their last nine to climb to 15-4 overall.
While its hot streak isn't nearly as impressive as Belmont's, Morehead State
has been played well of late, winning back-to-back games at Southeast Missouri
State (75-59) and most recently at Tennessee-Martin last Saturday (88-74). The
Eagles' current run has brought them to 10-10 overall and 4-2 in the OVC, and
they now return home where they are 7-2 this season.
This bout marks the inaugural meeting between these newly-formed OVC rivals.
Belmont began its game against TSU last weekend with a 22-3 run, and it never
looked back on its way to a 12-point victory. Ian Clark led the way with 22
points, and he also contributed six assists, six rebounds and four steals.
Kerron Johnson added 17 points and five helpers, while Trevor Noack scored 16
points, albeit on just 7-of-18 shooting from the field. It's no surprise the
Bruins are in first place when analyzing their numbers, as they rank first in
the OVC in scoring offense (77.3 ppg) and second in scoring defense (62.9
ppg), resulting in a +14.4 scoring margin that's nearly twice that of its
closest rival. Clark is an extremely efficient guard, knocking down 56.7
percent of his total shots, including an astounding 49.3 percent of his 66 3-
point tries on his way to the third-highest scoring average in the league
(19.1 ppg). Johnson nets 13.3 ppg and is a solid floor general as evidenced by
his 4.9 apg. Noack chips in with 12.8 ppg and a team-best 5.8 rpg, and Blake
Jenkins is also serviceable on the inside with 9.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 1.4
Morehead State got into bigger foul trouble than it would have liked in its
latest matchup against UTM, sending the Skyhawks to the foul line 37 times,
but it didn't matter much as the Eagles drained 54.1 percent of their field
goal attempts, including 9-of-19 from 3-point range, in posting the 14-point
triumph. The bench scored 46 of the team's 88 points, and the reserve effort
was led by 16 points from Kahlil Owens and 11 from Milton Chavis. Devon
Atkinson tallied a true double-double with 12 points and 12 assists, while
Bakari Turner rounded out the balanced effort with 14 points. Morehead State
isn't used to putting together performances that strong, but its 71.6 ppg
still ranks in the upper-half of the OVC. Although Chavis (11.8 ppg) is the
only player to net double-digits on a nightly basis, and eight others tally at
least 5.1 ppg in a deep rotation. Atkinson is usually light on the scoreboard
(7.4 ppg), but he has dished out 110 assists (5.5 pg) compared to just 57
With the home court advantage, Morehead State has a definite shot at an upset
here, especially considering its strong play of late. But in the end,
Belmont's scoring attack will be too much for the Eagles to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Belmont 78, Morehead State 70
01/24 10:34:26 ET