Murray, KY – The Murray State Racers look for a new school record for the best start in program history as they host the Jacksonville State Gamecocks for an Ohio Valley Conference clash at the CFSB Center.
The Racers have dominated the all-time series with JSU, winning all 15 of the previous encounters. Murray State narrowly escaped the last contest between the two with a 60-59 victory in March.
JSU finally won its first OVC game on Sunday as it took down Tennessee State 72-65 to improve to 1-4 in league play. The Gamecocks are 6-12 after the victory, which snapped a four-game losing streak. JSU shot an even 50 percent from the floor and 36.4 percent from three-point range in the win. The Gamecocks have the worst offense in the OVC with an average of just 62.4 ppg.
The trio of Brian Williams, Tarvin Gaines, and Stephen Hall will be the key to a turnaround for the Gamecocks. Williams is leading the team with 12.2 ppg on 38.7 percent shooting from the field and 3.5 apg. The sophomore guard has scored in double-figures in three straight games after a 17-point outing against Tennessee State. Gaines will need to step up his play, as he had been leading the team in scoring before being held scoreless in his last two outings. Stephen Hall is the Gamecocks' top rebounder with an average of 5.9 rpg.
Murray State is now 16-0 overall and 4-0 in league play after an 87-75 victory over the OVC's Preseason favorite Austin Peay on Saturday. The Racers have an impressive 21-game winning streak in OVC play and would set a new standard for the best start in program history with a win tonight, as they are tied with the 1935-1936 team. The Racers are one of just three remaining unbeatens (Syracuse, Baylor). The impressive start has been orchestrated by first-year head coach Steve Prohm. Murray State has the best scoring offense (75.9 ppg) and scoring defense (60.4 ppg) in the conference.
Isaiah Canaan has been the not-so secret ingredient to the Racers' success. The junior guard is second leading scorer in the OVC with 18.7 ppg and is also tied for second in the league with 4.1 apg. Canaan scored 35 points against Austin Peay in his last outing, which is one-point less than his career high of 36 he set earlier this year. Donte Pool is a solid backcourt companion for Canaan, as he averaged 13.3 ppg and is a legitimate threat from three-point range with a 42.7 percentage from beyond the arc. Ivan Aska is chipping in 12.6 ppg and a team-high six rebounds per game.