Eastern Kentucky (1-0) at Kennesaw State (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 9, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: KSU Convocation Center (4,792) -- Kennesaw, Georgia. Television: None. Home Record: EKU 0-0, KSU 0-1. Away Record: EKU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Neutral Record: EKU 1-0, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: EKU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: After suffering a loss on Friday night to begin their season, the Kennesaw State Owls turn their attention to the Eastern Kentucky Colonels on as the Kennesaw State Men's Basketball Tournament moves along.
EKU's season got off to a flying start in its opening-round bout with FIU, as the club took a 21-point lead at halftime and cruised to a 83-61 victory over a squad that won 18 games a season ago. The Colonels are attempting to build upon the success they had during the 2012-13 campaign, when they won a program-record 25 games.
Kennesaw State has been one of the worst teams in Division I the past few years, as it had won just six of its previous 61 games heading into the 2013-14 season opener, and despite the homecourt advantage versus Youngstown State, it still faltered in a 73-57 final.
These two teams met for the first time early last season, with EKU defeating Kennesaw State in the Comfort Suites Invitational, 85-71.
The Colonels pulled a rare move in the opener by starting five guards, and atypical of jump-shooting teams early in the season, they were able to knock down shots with regularity. EKU shot 49.1 percent from the field, including 9- of-24 from 3-point range, and it was also effective on numerous chances at the foul line (22-of-30). Glenn Cosey, the team's top returning scorer from last season (15.2 ppg), led the winning effort with 17 points while also logging eight assists, six rebounds and three steals. Marcus Lewis poured in 16 points on 7-of-9 from the floor, while Orlando Williams (14 points) and Corey Walden (11 points) were also impressive in the opener. EKU played ferocious defense as well, holding FIU to just 35.1 percent efficiency from the field while forcing 14 turnovers.
After netting only 61.0 ppg last season, Kennesaw State actually came in under that number in the opener, putting up 57 points on 34.6 percent field goal shooting. Its struggles were especially apparent from 3-point range (4-of-16). Delbert Love is the team's leading scorer from a year ago with 12.2 ppg, and he kept near that pace to start this season with 13 points off the bench. Bernard Morena tallied 12 points and six rebounds, while Orlando Coleman was also solid at his forward spot with 10 points and five boards. Nigel Pruitt was off the mark all game, as he went scoreless on 0-of-8 shooting from the field, with five of those misses coming from beyond the arc. On top of a poor shooting night, the Owls committed 19 turnovers.
Ultimately, the homecourt advantage means almost nothing in this event since the Owls simply aren't as talented as the opposition. EKU will push the tempo in this one on its way to an easy victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 78, Kennesaw State 60
11/09 10:38:46 ET