Murray State (9-3) at Tennessee-Martin (3-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 3, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Elam Center (4,800) -- Martin, Tennessee. Television: Racer Television Network. Home Record: Murray State 4-1, Tennessee-Martin 3-3. Away Record: Murray State 3-1, Tennessee-Martin 0-8. Neutral Record: Murray State 2-1, Tennessee Martin 0-0. Conference Record: Murray State 0-0, Tennessee Martin 0-2. Series Record: Murray State leads, 40-3.
GAMES NOTES: The Murray State Racers will try to bounce back from a pair of losses when they take on the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks in an Ohio Valley Conference affair at the Elam Center.
The Racers are coming off a tough 66-64 defeat at home to Valparaiso last time out. That loss came on the heels of a 77-68 setback against Dayton and dropped the Racers to 9-3 overall this year. The Racers have had success on the road this season with a mark of 3-1 in away games. Up next the Racers will match up with SE Missouri State.
It has been even worse of late for Tennessee-Martin which has lost six straight games entering this contest after a 64-54 defeat at the hands of Jacksonville State on Monday. The Skyhawks are now just 3-11 overall with all three of their wins coming at home where they remain in the finale of this three-game homestand against Austin Peay on Saturday.
The all-time series between these teams has been lopsided, as Murray State has come out on top 40 times in 43 meetings with Tennessee-Martin.
Despite outscoring Valparaiso 27-18 from beyond the arc, Murray State couldn't make enough plays down the stretch to capture a victory. Points in the paint were a big key, with the Crusaders holding a 36-20 advantage inside.
Even though they have struggled recently the Racers have still been a very successful team this season. Murray State is the top scoring team in the OVC (75.5 ppg), while ranking second in field-goal percentage (46.5). The Racers let up just 66.0 points a game on 40.3 percent shooting. Leading the charge is All-American Isaiah Canaan (21.1 ppg, 4.1 apg), who is ninth in the country in scoring, while managing to lead the team in assists as well. Ed Daniel (15.8 ppg, 10.5 rpg) is a double-double machine and anchors the team in the frontcourt, while Stacy Wilson (14.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.2 apg) has contributed across the board.
Turnovers doomed Tennessee-Martin against Jacksonville State, as the Skyhawks coughed the ball up 21 times leading to 18 Gamecock points. The Skyhawks also shot 40.0 percent from the field, including a 2-of-10 effort from beyond the arc in the loss.
There is only so much one player can do and the Skyhawks are finding that out the hard way. Myles Taylor (16.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg) posted a 22-point, 12 rebound double-double against Jacksonville State for his fourth game of 20 or more points and his third double-double. Both Mike Liabo (12.9 ppg) and Justin Childs (10.2 ppg) are scoring in double figures as well, but each is shooting worse than 40 percent from the field. Jeremy Washington (9.0 ppg) has scored in double figures three times this year but just once in his last six games. As a team the Skyhawks have shot at just a 39.4 percent clip, while playing rather porous defense, allowing 74.5 points per game.
Outside of playing at home, Tennessee-Martin doesn't have many advantages against Murray State. The trio of Canaan, Daniel and Wilson will power the Racers to a win in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 78, Tennessee-Martin 61
01/03 10:45:12 ET