Murray, KY – The 24th-ranked Murray State Racers will try to league clash.
Murray State is off to an 11-0 start following Thursday's 89-65 rout of Lipscomb. That victory marked the Racers' 11th straight home win and 14th straight win overall against non-conference opponents. A win tonight would give MSU its best start since the 1950-51 team also started 12-0. The 1935-36 squad owns the best start in school history (16-0).
Tonight's contest will mark the Racers' final non-conference tune-up until BracketBuster play takes place in February. Murray State opens its Ohio Valley Conference slate at home against UT Martin next Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, Arkansas State is looking to build on the momentum it has picked up of late. After starting the year 1-4, the Red Wolves have won four of their last five games to get to .500. The latest of those victories came against Seattle on Wednesday night in an 87-74 final. The Red Wolves have a few more non-league games on the horizon before opening Sun Belt Conference play against ULM on New Year's Eve.
The Racers own a 21-9 advantage in the all-time series between these two teams, but the last meeting was won by ASU in a 55-47 final at home in 2008.
The Red Wolves dominated the paint in their win over Seattle earlier this week, as starting forwards Malcoln Kirkland and Brandon Peterson both recorded double-doubles. Kirkland posted a personal-best 18 points to go along with 13 rebounds for his first career double-double, while Peterson finished with 17 points and 12 boards for the fifth double-double of his career. Sophomore guard Edward Townsel paced five players in double figures with 20 points, which matched his career-best.
ASU enjoyed a 45-36 rebounding edge for the game, in addition to a 27-10 scoring advantage at the foul line. Seattle was whistled for 29 fouls, as the Red Wolves attempted a whopping 42 free throws. All five of the team's starters are scoring in double figures through 10 games as ASU spreads the ball around quite a bit. However, the bench has contributed very little in terms of offensive production.
Peterson leads the team in scoring (11.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg), while Trey Finn (11.6 ppg) is the squad's top option from outside the arc, where he has knocked down 21-of-44 attempts (.477).
On the other side of the floor, the Racers are coming off their best shooting night of the season so far as they were 56.9 percent from the field, including a 60-percent shooting effort in the second half. MSU closed out the first half on an 18-8 run to take a 45-29 lead into the break. In the second half, the Racers forced six straight turnovers at one point to fuel an 18-0 run and turn the game into a blowout.
Murray State enters this contest ranked among the national leaders in turnovers forced per game (18.6). MSU also entered the week ranked fifth nationally in free-throw percentage (.775) and seventh in three-point field goal percentage (.426). Isaiah Canaan, a 47-percent shooter from the perimeter (33-of-71), leads the team with 19.2 points per game. Ivan Aska (12.9 ppg) shared team-high scoring honors with Ed Daniel (6.6 ppg) in Thursday's victory, as both players scored 16 points.