Notebook: Men’s basketball to face top 2 teams in OVC this week

Blake Faith, Men's Basketball Reporter

Adam Tumino | The Daily Eastern News
Senior forward JaQualis Matlock shoots a jumpshot in Eastern’s 76-74 loss against Southern Illinois Edwardsville on Feb. 15 at Lantz Arena.

The OVC standings have yet to change in first and second place as they still belong to Murray State and Austin Peay. Both are the Eastern’s men’s basketball team’s opponents this week at Lantz Arena.

In the OVC Preseason Poll Belmont was predicted to finish first in the conference and Murray State was predicted to finish in second. Austin Peay was predicted to finish in fourth-place.

Murray State sits in first-place in the OVC standings, despite the loss of Ja Morant to the NBA Draft. Murray State is 12-2 in conference plays and is 19-7 overall this season. The Racers are 5-5 on the road this season.

Murray State is first in the conference as a team in scoring defense, field goal percentage, three-point percentage and defensive rebounding. The Racers are led in scoring by sophomore Tevin Brown who averages 18.2 points per game.

In their first matchup of the season the Racers defeated the Panthers 73-70. Brown and Panther junio Josiah Wallace each scored 24 points.

Austin Peay is 12-2 in conference play with an overall record of 18-9. The Governors are 4-8 on the road this season.

The Governors are second in the conference in scoring offense, free-throw percentage, and defensive rebounding. They’re led by junior Terry Taylor in rebounding (10.6 per game) and scoring ( 22 points per game). Both are first in the OVC statistics.

The Governors won their first matchup against the Panthers 68-64. Taylor recorded 16 points and nine rebounds. Junior Mack Smith led the Panthers in scoring with 13 points.

The Panthers are 5-9 in conference play with an overall record of 12-14. The Panthers home record is 8-2 and they sit in seventh-place in the OVC standings. The Panthers were predicted to finish in seventh-place in the OVC standings.

Eastern leads the OVC in blocked shots and is top-five in steals, field-goal percentage, assists, rebounding and scoring defense.

The Panthers have three scorers who average in double figures: Wallace, Smith, and George Dixon.

Wallace leads the Panthers in scoring with 14.6 points per game which is eighth in the OVC statistics. In Wallace’s last seven games he’s averaged an overall 46 percent from the field and 18.9 points per game.

Dixon averages 11.5 points per game and nine rebounds per game. His rebounding average is second in the OVC statistics.

Eastern will tipoff against Murray State on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

Blake Faith can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]