SIU Edwardsville (8-16) at Eastern Kentucky (15-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 23rd, 7:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: SIUE 7-6, EKU 10-2. Away Record: SIUE 1-8, EKU 4-11. Neutral Record: SIUE 0-2, EKU 1-1. Conference Record: SIUE 5-9, EKU 6-8. Series Record: EKU leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: Looking to clinch a spot in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament, the Eastern Kentucky Colonels are set to host the SIUE Edwardsville Cougars in a league bout at McBrayer Arena.
SIU Edwardsville snapped a two-game slide with a thrilling 64-62 triumph against Northern Illinois over the weekend, giving the club its third victory of its last five outings. Still, the Cougars have just eight wins to show for their 2011-12 campaign, and own a meager 5-9 mark in OVC play.
As for Eastern Kentucky, the Colonels can clinch one of the three remaining slots in the OVC tournament with a win tonight, placing the squad in the league tournament for the 10th straight year. The Colonels snapped a two-game skid with a 78-69 verdict over IPFW on Saturday, improving to 15-14 overall and 6-8 in conference action.
EKU owns a slight 2-1 edge over the Cougars in the brief all-time history between the two programs.
Mark Yelovich hit a jumper as time expired to lift the Cougars to the two- point win over Northern Illinois, a contest during which SIUE shot at a respectable 45.5 percent clip. The squad did run into a bit of trouble at the foul line, however, getting 26 opportunities at the stripe but making good on just 17 of them, in addition to an underwhelming though effective 7-of-18 effort from beyond the arc. Yelovich posted a game-high 22 points to lead the way for the Cougars in addition to his late-game heroics, while Kris Davis added 14 points. The Cougars average just 65.4 points per game this year, which is an especially poor tally given the fact that the opposition has been allowed to net 71.7 ppg. SIUE is shooting a lackluster 43.7 percent from the floor as a team up to this point, but has had some success from three-point land (39.6 percent). Opponents have beaten the Cougars to the glass by a 35.8 - 31.6 margin, and have forced the squad into 360 turnovers. Yelovich leads the way on the year, tallying 14.7 points to go with 6.1 rebounds per contest, while Jerome Jones and Davis have been responsible for 13.2 and 12.0 ppg, respectively.
The Colonels shot a solid 49.1 percent from the field during their nine-point win against IPFW, a mark that included 10-for-24 from long range. EKU made good on 12-of-13 at the foul line as well during the meeting, and edged IPFW on the glass by a 31-30 margin. At the other end of the court, the Colonels stifled IPFW to just 6-of-16 from three-point range, and forced a game-high 15 giveaways. Jaron Jones scored 22 points and collected nine rebounds to pace EKU in the win, while Joshua Jones and D'Mitri Riggs chipped in 17 and 12 points, respectively. EKU averages an underwhelming 66.0 ppg this season, and is shooting just 43.6 percent from the field as a team. At the other end of the court, however, opponents have been kept in check to the tune of 65.7 ppg, but do own a 33.0 - 29.0 rebounding advantage over the Colonels as well. Jaron Jones, with 16.4 ppg, leads the way for the Colonels this season, while Joshua Jones follows with 10.2 ppg. Mike DiNunno rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 10.0 points to go with a team-leading 81 assists.
Naturally, EKU gets the nod here. Not that they'd need it against the Cougars, but the Colonels will have plenty of extra motivation to earn a win tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 69, SIUE Edwardsville 60
02/23 10:38:35 ET