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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 29, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UD Arena (13,455) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: FSN-OH. Home Record: MSU 5-1, Dayton 6-1. Away Record: MSU 0-5, Dayton 1-1. Neutral Record: MSU 0-0, Dayton 2-1. Conference Record: MSU 0-0, Dayton 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: Two teams coming off losses will try to get back on track, as the Murray State Racers visit the Dayton Flyers in a non-league bout at UD Arena.
Last Saturday, Murray State was defeated by rival Western Kentucky (71-64). The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Racers, and dropped them back below .500 on the campaign (5-6). The loss was also the fifth in as many chances on the road for the Racers, who begin their Ohio Valley Conference schedule on Thursday against Southeast Missouri State.
This contest is the fourth installment in a five-game homestand for Dayton, which lost its first game at home last Sunday in a 79-76 overtime decision against USC. Dayton, which has spent some time in the national rankings this season, is 9-3 overall and 6-1 at UD Arena, where it will be on Wednesday against Winthrop.
Dayton collected a 77-68 win last season over Murray State after the Racers won the first two meetings in 2011 and 1997, respectively.
Murray State held a 42-34 lead with 15:44 to play against Western Kentucky, but gradually let its advantage fall away down the stretch. The Racers did shoot 52.4 percent from the floor in the period, but they allowed 11 offensive rebounds and 13 second-chance points to the Hilltoppers in that time as well.
T.J. Sapp put forth another fine effort in just his second game of the season. After netting 15 points against Southern Illinois, Sapp tallied 25 against Western Kentucky, while connecting on 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc. With Sapp back in the fold the Racers now have five different players averaging in double figures. Jarvis Williams (13.3 ppg, 10.5 rpg) has been doing so all season, while also cleaning the glass regularly. He finished with 24 points, but only three rebounds against the Hilltoppers. Cameron Payne (13 ppg, 5.5 apg), Jeffrey Moss (11.7 ppg) and Dexter Fields (10.6 ppg) can also be counted on.
Jalen Robinson nailed a pair of free-throws with 50 seconds to play that gave Dayton a 69-67 lead against USC. The Trojans responded with a layup from Byron Wesley, and the Flyers missed a pair of 3-point attempts in the final seconds to force overtime. A back-and-forth extra session ended with USC on top after Pe'Shon Howard sank a trey on the last play of the game.
It was certainly a disappointing loss for Dayton, which connected on just 37.3 percent of its attempts from the field in the contest. That is quite a ways off from its normal production, as the Flyers typically sink 47.3 percent of their tries from the floor. Jordan Sibert (13.5 ppg) did his best to keep UD competitive, finishing with a game-high 21 points. The effort was the first 20-point outing for Dayton's leading scorer since the end of November. Devin Oliver (11.4 ppg, 7 rpg), Dyshawn Pierre (11.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Vee Sanford (10.3 ppg) all add to a balanced lineup.
It took an incredible shot and an extra session to saddle Dayton with its first loss at home. Expect the Flyers to be much more efficient on Sunday and avoid falling again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Dayton 75, Murray State 67
12/29 11:01:45 ET
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