Lipscomb (6-5) at (24) Murray State (10-0)
Thursday, December 15th, 8:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: CSFB Center (8,500) -- Murray, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: Lipscomb 4-2, Murray St. 3-0. Away Record: Lipscomb 0-3, Murray St. 4-0. Neutral Record: Lipscomb 2-0, Murray St. 3-0. Conference Record: Lipscomb 1-1, Murray St. 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In the top-25 for the first time since 1998, the 24th-ranked Murray State Racers put their lofty standing on the line this evening, as they welcome the Lipscomb Bison to the CSFB Center for a non-conference affair.
Steve Prohm's debut season with the Racers has to be considered a huge success thus far, as the team is the only mid-major program in the country that has still yet to taste defeat. The Racers already have some impressive wins on the season, none more so than Sunday's 76-72 win on the road over nationally- ranked Memphis. It marked Murray State's first road win over a top-25 program since 1981.
Scott Sanderson is in his 13th season with Lipscomb, which is 6-5 on the young season. This the second game of an extended seven-game road swing for the Bison, who opened the trip with an 89-87 overtime loss at Tennessee Tech.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
Robert Boyd and Deonte Alexander combined for 44 points, but it wasn't enough in a two-point overtime loss at Tennessee Tech last weekend. Boyd finished with a career-high 23 points, while Alexander notched a career-high 21 points, but Lipscomb blew an eight-point halftime lead, as the Golden Eagles found their range after the break, utilizing an 18-6 run to take the lead. The Bison battled back to force overtime, but Lipscomb trailed in the extra session from start to finish. The Bison have shown themselves to be a team with decent scoring depth, led by Jordan Burgason's 13.2 ppg. Boyd is a close second at 12.3 ppg. The team as a whole is netting 76.5 ppg and has done a good job pushing the issue defensively, forcing 19.0 turnovers per outing.
MSU almost allowed a 12-point lead to disappear completely against Memphis, but up by one point with just 11 seconds remaining, Isaiah Canaan was able to make a pair of free throws to give the Racers some breathing room and the eventual victory. Donte Poole led four Racers in double figures with 20 points in the win. Canaan added 15, while Ed Daniel and Ivan Aska chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively. It has been a balanced offensive attack for Murray State all season long. The Racers are averaging 74.6 ppg and doing it on a healthy .463 shooting, including an impressive .433 from behind the arc. Canaan paces the team with 19.8 ppg, shooting just over 50 percent from the floor and nearly the same from behind the arc (.484, 31-of-64). Poole can also light it up from long range (.453, 24-of-53) and adds 13.7 ppg to the cause. Aska rounds out the top scoring threats for the Racers with 12.6 ppg.
The Racers should have no trouble successfully defending their new ranking. Canaan and company are for real and should hit their OVC schedule with a full head of steam.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 76, Lipscomb 58
12/15 10:32:36 ET