Morehead State (9-6) at SIU Edwardsville (3-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: MSU 5-1, SIUE 3-2. Away Record: MSU 3-4, SIUE 0-6. Neutral Record: MSU 1-1, SIUE 0-2. Conference Record: MSU 0-0, SIUE 0-0. Series Record: Morehead State leads, 5-1.
GAME NOTES: Ohio Valley Conference actions starts up on Thursday night, as the SIU Edwardsville Cougars welcome the Morehead State Eagles to the Vadalabene Center.
Morehead State finished up non-conference play an impressive 9-6, which included wins in two of its last three against South Dakota (120-83) and most recently versus Asbury-Kentucky on Monday, 102-68. The Eagles have been more vulnerable on the road however, sitting with just a 3-4 record away from home.
SIUE had been losers of four straight games, its second such losing streak in the first two months of the season, but it recently snapped out of that funk with a 102-78 triumph over Robert Morris-Springfield on Sunday. The Cougars have still played poorly this season at 3-10, although all three wins have come at home.
Morehead State leads the all-time series with SIUE, 5-1, with the Cougars' only win coming at home in February of 2012, 61-53.
For the second time in three games and the fourth time overall this season, Morehead State exploded for at least 100 points in its most recent contest, slaying Asbury-Kentucly by shooting 47 percent from the field and earning extra possessions by dominating the turnover (21-14) and rebounding (66-32) battles. Angelo Warner stuffed the stat sheet in the victory with 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Chad Posthumus posted his eighth double-double of the season with 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds. Jordan Percell was also impressive with 19 points, and Kareem Story got the scorers involved with eight assists.
The Eagles' handful of offensive outbursts this season have resulted in 79.8 ppg, which is 6.5 ppg more than they allow. They are an outstanding rebounding squad as well (+8.9) thanks largely to Posthumus (10.9 ppg), who ranks second nationally with 12.4 ppg. Warner (17.6 ppg) and Brent Arrington (11.8 ppg) have both drained 27 3-pointers, while Story's 6.5 apg places him 13th in the nation.
SIUE had its most impressive offensive performance of the season earlier in the week against Robert Morris-Springfield, as it shot a lofty 65.6 percent from the field, including a blistering 15-of-23 from 3-point range, en route to the 24-point victory. Maurice Wiltz poured in 20 points on 5-of-9 from 3- point range, while Michael Messer came off the bench to score 20 as well, doing his damage on 7-of-10 from the field. Kris Davis chipped in 15 points, Donivine Stewart tallied 12 points and nine assists, Keaton Jackson scored 11 and Christian Salecich netted 10.
The Cougars usually piece together a modest offensive attack, as they shoot nearly 46 percent from the field for 72.5 ppg, but unfortunately for them their defensive effort has been one of the worst in the country, allowing 80.5 ppg on 52.2 percent field goal shooting. Stewart is the only player to score in double figures with 10.6 ppg, although in total nine players are able to pour in at least 5.8 ppg. Stewart hands out a team-best 4.0 apg, while Jackson grabs 5.1 rpg.
With SIUE showing some promise at the Vadalabene Center (3-2), it has a possibility of stringing together a strong enough performance to pull off an upset, but with Morehead State's red-hot offense facing the Cougars' porous defense, figure for the Eagles to soar to 1-0 in the OVC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Morehead State 85, SIU Edwardsville 76
01/02 10:34:19 ET