Martin, TN – The 10th-ranked Murray State Racers will try to Martin Skyhawks.
This will be the second meeting this season and 44th meeting in the all-time series between these programs. Murray State is 40-3 against the Skyhawks after its 78-54 victory on Dec 21st, 2011 in the conference opener for both teams.
The Racers had a scare on Thursday night as they trailed Southeast Missouri State by double digits in the second half, before Murray State changed the momentum with a 24-2 surge to escape with an 81-73 victory. Head coach Steve Prohm's debut season remains unblemished as his squad is 22-0 and 10-0 in OVC action. The Racers' victory over the Redhawks was powered by a strong 22-of-28 shooting performance from the charity stripe in the final 20 minutes. Murray State leads the OVC in many statistical categories, including scoring offense (75.7), scoring defense (61.5), three-point percentage (41.7), and steals (8.8).
Isaiah Canaan scored 24 of his 32 points after halftime, including 15 during the crucial 24-2 run to keep the Racers' percent record intact. Canaan has been stellar all season and carries in team-high averages of 19.3 points and 3.7 assists per game into tonight's bout. Devon Poole is second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.5 ppg on 45.4 percent shooting from the field. Ivan Aska recently returned to action after being sidelined with injury for six games. Aska contributed a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday night's comeback victory.
Tennessee-Martin is opposite Murray State in the OVC standings, as it carries an 0-11 league record. The Skyhawks have lost 12 straight games and 16 straight games against Division I opponents. Most recently, UTM lost 85-74 to Jacksonville State which dropped its overall record to 3-21. Head coach Jason James has seen his team be outscored by an average of 11.7 points per game this season. The Racers should not have too much trouble against the Skyhawks' defense, which is allowing opponents to connect on 51.1 percent of their field goals this season.
Mike Liabo is pacing the Skyhawks with team-best averages of 15.2 points and 2,8 assists per game. Liabo has been consistent, as he has scored in double- figures in all but one of his appearances this season. Myles Taylor is second on the team in scoring (12.7 ppg) and first in rebounding (4.8 rpg). The freshman forward scored a team-high 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the floor in UTM's recent loss to Jacksonville State.