Southeast Missouri State(14-13) at Jacksonville State (12-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 8:45 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Mathews Coliseum (5,500) -- JAcksonville, Alabama. Television: None. Home Record: SEMO 10-4, Jacksonville State 7-4. Away Record: SEMO 4-9, Jacksonville State 3-10. Neutral Record: SEMO 0-0, Jacksonville State 2-3. Conference Record: SEMO 9-5, Jacksonville State 6-8. Series Record: Jacksonville State leads, 11-5.
GAMES NOTES: The Southeast Missouri State Redhawks are on the road taking on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks in an Ohio Valley Conference matchup at Pete Mathews Coliseum this evening.
Earlier this season these teams faced off and Southeast Missouri State dominated on its home court in a 74-56 victory. Despite the win, Jacksonville State still holds the all-time series lead at 11-5.
Southeast Missouri State has lost back-to-back games entering play including a defeat out of conference over the BracketBuster weekend to McNeese State. On the year the Redhawks are a mediocre 14-13 but are right in the thick of things near the top of the conference with a 9-5 record in league play. The Redhawks will play on the road against Austin Peay to close out the season on Saturday.
Jacksonville State has not been able to put consecutive wins together in the month and has been trading wins and losses over the last six games. The Gamecocks are coming into this game riding some non-conference momentum after downing Presbyterian during BracketBuster weekend. The Gamecocks are a pedestrian 6-8 in conference play this season but will have a chance to improve when they host last place Tennessee-Martin on Saturday.
Southeast Missouri State failed to get in a rhythm in shooting 36.9 percent from the floor against McNeese State and also struggled to put up much defensive pressure allowing the Cowboys to shoot at a 51.9 percent clip.
The poor shooting was out of character for the Redhawks who have shot a conference best 48.3 percent from the floor while scoring at a 71.3 points per game clip which is third best in the OVC. The Redhawks are also at the top of the conference in assists (15.1 apg, 1st) and rebounds (34.9 rpg, 1st). These stellar numbers have been downplayed due to the teams inability to get stops on the defensive end as the Redhawks allow 70.0 points per game. Sophomore forward Tyler Stone (14.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg) is the team's leading offensive threat as well as its primary contributor on the glass. Stone scored 13 points against McNeese State but was plagued by a poor shooting percentage as he was just 5-of-12 in the game. Nick Niemczyk (9.3 ppg) improved his scoring average with a team-high 18 points in the loss to the Cowboys. Marland Smith (12.6 ppg) and Leon Powell (11.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg) are other solid contributors for the squad although neither was effective in Saturday's loss.
Jacksonville State shot 46.0 percent from the floor and outscored Presbyterian 21-9 from three-point range in its BracketBuster win. The Gamecocks also kept up the pressure on the Blue Hose by forcing 16 turnovers.
The Gamecocks cannot lay claim to such impressive offensive numbers as the Redhawks as they score just 64.4 points per game while shooting 42.2 percent from the floor. Where Jacksonville State has an advantage is on defense. As a unit the Gamecocks are allowing only 64.2 points per game. Brian Williams spearheaded the Gamecocks against Presbyterian as he has all season. The sophomore guard dumped in 20 points to bump his team leading scoring average to 13.3 points per game. Williams is heating up, scoring in double figures in nine straight games. Tarvin Gaines (10.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg) is the only other player averaging in double figures on the squad and put together one of his best performances of the season with a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double over the weekend.
A prolific offense will meet a solid defense in this matchup. Although defense normally trumps offense, the Gamecocks' lack of scoring depth is troubling and will cause problems for them on their homecourt.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: SE Missouri State 64, Jacksonville State 61
02/23 10:37:43 ET