Racers and Redhawks duke it out in OVC action
Cape Giradeau, MO – The 16th-ranked Murray State Racers head to the Show Me Center for a rematch with the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in what could be another Ohio Valley Conference thriller.
The Racers and Redhawks already met once this season, as their first contest resulted in a Murray State 81-73 victory after a hard-fought battle. SEMO had an 11-point lead in the first encounter on Feb. 2nd before the Racers rallied to pick up the victory. Murray State has a 49-17 lead in the all-time series.
Head coach Steve Prohm's squad accomplished one of its goals over the weekend as it secured a share of the OVC regular season title with a decisive 82-63 win over the Austin Peay Governors. A win tonight would give it the outright crown. Murray State is in its 10th week of being ranked in the national polls in what has been a remarkable season. Murray State had the distinction of being the last undefeated team among the 338 Division I programs. Prohm's 23-0 start to his career was the third best in NCAA history for a first-year coach. The Racers have dominated their opposition along the way, as it has outscored rivals by 13.4 points per game so far.
Canaan has been the leader for Murray State all season. The junior guard is ranked second in the league and 20th in the nation in scoring with 19.6 ppg and is also third in the OVC in assists with 3.8 per game. Donte Poole and Ivan Aska have been steadily contributing to Murray State's success. Poole has been slumping as of late, as he has shot 30 percent or worse from the field in his last four games. Aska is grabbing a team-best 5.8 boards per game. Jewuan Long stretches the defense with his 48.8 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Head coach Dickey Nutt would love nothing more than to knock off the Racers in SEMO's regular season home finale. The Redhawks won their second game in a row on Saturday as they downed SIU Edwardsville 85-72 to improve to 9-4 in league action. SEMO proved in its first matchup with Murray State it is going to be no cakewalk. The Redhawks are even more dangerous as of late, as they have shot above 53 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from beyond the arc in each of their last two games. SEMO is averaging 72.0 ppg on the offensive end this season, which is the third highest average in the OVC.
SEMO is led by the trio of Tyler Stone, Marland Smith, and Leon Powell. Stone is pacing the squad with averages of 15.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The sophomore forward was excellent his last time out as he finished with 20 points and nine rebounds. Smith is second on the squad in scoring with 12.8 ppg and Leon Powell contributes 11.2 points and 7.0 boards per contest. Marcus Brister does a great job distributing for the Redhawks, as he ranks second in the conference with 4.1 apg.