SIU Edwardsville (4-6) at Morehead State (6-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ellis Johnson Arena (6,500) -- Morehead, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: SIUE 4-1, MSU 5-2. Away Record: SIUE 0-5, MSU 0-6. Neutral Record: SIUE 0-0, MSU 1-0. Conference Record: SIUE 0-0, MSU 0-0. Series Record: Morehead State leads, 3-1.
GAME NOTES: Ohio Valley Conference action tips off on Thursday night at Ellis Johnson Arena, as the Morehead State Eagles play host to the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville.
SIUE is still looking for its first road win of the season, as it has dropped all five contests away from Edwardsville, most recently traveling to Saint Louis and getting dominated by the Billikens last Friday, 68-41. The Cougars have been able to hover around .500 however, thanks to an impressive 4-1 mark on their home floor.
After starting its current four-game homestand off with a 94-58 loss to Southern Miss on Dec. 28, Morehead State bounced back in a big way with a 114-67 thrashing of Union College last Sunday. The triumph halted a three-game losing streak for the Eagles, and they now sit with a 6-8 record overall, including a 5-2 showing at Johnson Arena.
The Eagles hold a 3-1 advantage over Cougars, and last season the two teams split the series at a game apiece, with each winning on its home floor.
SIUE could not get anything going the last time out against one of the nation's premiere defensive teams, as Saint Louis held the Cougars to just 31.9 percent shooting, and they actually had fewer field goals (15) than they had turnovers (16). Jerome Jones overcame many of his teammates' struggles by scoring 15 points, but he did so on just 6-of-16 shooting from the field. Kris Davis added 12 points in the setback. Offensive output has been an issue for the Cougars all season long as they shoot less than 41 percent from the field and rank 11th in the OVC in scoring at just 61.4 ppg. Doing most of the heavy lifting has been Jones, who scores 16.2 ppg, grabs 5.4 rpg and drains 2.8 treys per contest at a 42.4 percent clip. Davis chips in with 10.5 ppg, and Michael Messer tacks on 9.3 ppg.
There was no stopping the Morehead State offense in its 47-point rout of Union, as it made 42-of-82 attempts from the field (.512) and scored an astounding 53 points off of 33 turnovers. The Eagles boasted eight players in double figures, paced by Drew Kelly and Milton Chavis with 15 points apiece. Bruce Reed and Jason Holmes tallied 12 points apiece, Devon Atkinson and Angelo Warner both put up 11 points and combined for 16 assists, and Chad Posthumus and Cordell James rounded out the outstanding game with 10 points apiece. The outburst certainly helped the Eagles' year-to-date numbers, but while they score the fourth-most points in the OVC (71.6 ppg), they still sport a relatively modest field goal percentage (.421). Chavis is the lone player to average double-digits in points, scoring 12.3 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting, but eight others put up between 5.2 and 9.2 ppg.
It's unlikely that Morehead State will shoot as efficiently as it did in its latest game, but playing at home against one of the worst offensive teams in the conference, it won't need to. Expect the Eagles to use a balanced attack to get their OVC schedule off on the right foot.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Morehead State 73, SIU Edwardsville 62
01/03 10:44:32 ET