Eastern Kentucky (8-0) at Chattanooga (2-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKenzie Arena (10,928) -- Chattanooga, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: EKU 7-0, UTC 1-4. Away Record: EKU 1-0, UTC 1-1. Neutral Record: EKU 0-0, UTC 0-0. Conference Record: EKU 0-0, UTC 0-1. Series Record: Chattanooga leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels will put their perfect record at stake when they visit McKenzie Arena for a non-conference clash with the Chattanooga Mocs.
EKU survived its first true road game of the season on Tuesday as it topped North Carolina Central, 63-57, to improve to 8-0 and remain the only unbeaten team left in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels have been in a couple of thrillers already as they took down Towson (71-69) in overtime and Western Carolina (72-70) in the closing seconds after trailing by 11 points at halftime. Coach Jeff Neubauer's team cracked the Mid-Major Top-25 as it generated the best start for the school since 1964-65. EKU is scoring an average of 76.9 ppg, despite pulling down 4.7 less rebounds per contest than its opposition.
The Mocs are coming off an 81-55 loss to Davidson they suffered last Saturday in their Southern Conference opener. Chattanooga is now 2-5 overall with only one of those wins coming over a Division I foe. However, the Mocs have played tough early on as they lost at Kansas by only 14 points and suffered single- digit setbacks to Troy and Louisiana Tech. Now in his ninth year at the helm of the program, coach John Schulman enters with a 134-132 career record. His team this season is very tough on the glass with seven straight games of 12 or more offensive rebounds, but it is only netting 64.6 ppg, while allowing opponents to score an average of 2.6 more points per contest.
This will be just the second meeting between these schools. Chattanooga picked up a 68-54 win on Dec. 30, 2009 in the inaugural encounter.
The Colonels only trailed for 17 seconds their last time out, but they had to scrap to fend off NC Central. Eastern Kentucky was outrebounded by 19 but outscored NCCU 32-14 off turnovers and limited the Eagles to only one make from 3-point range in the contest. Senior guard Mike DiNunno scored a game- high 21 points with a 4-of-6 shooting clip from beyond the arc. The Chicago native is now second on the team in scoring with 14.4 ppg. Junior guard Glenn Cosey is pacing the squad with 17 ppg while sophomore Corey Walden provides a spark off the bench with 9.0 points and 3.4 caroms per game.
Chattanooga was no match for its conference rival its last time out. The Wildcats held the Mocs to one field goal for nearly nine minutes into the second half to build upon their 39-26 halftime lead. UTC allowed Davidson to knock down 14 3-pointers and convert 50 percent of its field goal attempts in the final 20 minutes. The Mocs finished the game with a 15-of-50 shooting clip from the floor. Gee McGhee scored a team-high 15 points but converted only 3- of-15 from the field. Junior power forward Z Mason added 14 points and they both grabbed six rebounds. Mason leads the team with 11.7 ppg. Senior center Drazen Zlovaric is adding 9.6 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds per outing.
Although EKU is entering with a perfect record to UTC's unimpressive 2-5 mark, these teams are not too far apart. The Colonels have proven they will be tough at home, but they are still relatively untested in games on the road. The Mocs will be much more competitive in this one but they need McGhee to be more efficient on the offensive end. EKU's backcourt still gives it a slight edge.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 72, Chattanooga 63
12/08 10:33:04 ET