Entering this week the OVC is rated the 12th-best conference in the RPI according to RPIRatings.com; the OVC trails just the Big Ten, Big East, Pac-12, ACC, Mountain West, Atlantic 10, Big 12, SEC, Missouri Valley, WCC and Conference USA…Murray State is the top-ranked OVC team in the RPI (20), followed closely by Belmont (25); Eastern Kentucky (86) and Jacksonville State (89) are both under 100 in the RPI as well…EKU suffered its first loss of the season on Sunday, falling at No.10 Illinois after starting the season 9-0; EKU was one of just 10 undefeated teams at the time of its loss…Murray State, who is still receiving votes in both national Top 25 polls, improved to 8-1 on the season with a win over rival Western Kentucky on Sunday; the Racers, who have the nation’s longest road winning streak at 15 games, has road contests at Arkansas State and Dayton this week (the team has not lost on the road since the end of the 2010-11 season)…Murray State was the only Division I team to be undefeated in true road games last season…Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan currently ranks seventh nationally in scoring (21.3 points/game) while teammate Ed Daniel is fifth in rebounding (11.7/game)…Belmont guard Ian Clark is fourth nationally in 3-point percentage (52.0%) and fifth in 3-pointers made/game (3.9)…OVC teams on the whole are defending the 3-point shot well this season, as eight of the 12 OVC schools rank in the Top 75 nationally in 3-point percentage…After a slow week of games last week due to final exams (five OVC schools did not play a game last week), there are 21 games on the slate this week…Due to the holiday, the OVC will announce its next set of Players of the Week next Sunday (Dec. 23).
Murray State Receiving Votes in Top 25: Murray State (8-1) continues to receive votes in both national Top 25 polls. The Racers picked up three (3) points in the USA Today Coaches Poll and four (4) points in the Associated Press Top 25. Belmont received votes in the coaches poll on Nov. 19 following its win at Stanford but is no longer receiving votes in that poll.
Murray State, Belmont, Eastern Kentucky Ranked in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll: In last week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major poll (the Dec. 17 poll was not out at release time), Murray State was No. 4, Belmont was No. 8 and Eastern Kentucky was No. 18 while Jacksonville State was among the other schools receiving votes. Murray State was ranked fourth for the fourth-straight week, Belmont moved up one spot while EKU jumped from 23rd to 18th in its second week in the poll. Wichita State was ranked first and received 24 first-place votes while Creighton was second and received a first-place vote and Gonzaga was third and received the other six first-place votes. Murray State finished the 2011-12 season ranked No. 1 in the poll, holding that spot for the final 12 weeks of the season; MSU was the first OVC team to ever be ranked No. 1 in the poll. Now in its 14th season, the Mid-Major poll is made up of team’s from the following conferences: America East, Atlantic Sun, Big Sky, Big South, Big West, Colonial, Great West, Horizon, Independents, Ivy, Metro Atlantic, Mid-American, Mid-Eastern, Missouri Valley, Northeast, Ohio Valley, Patriot, Southern, Southland, Southwestern, Summit, Sun Belt, WAC and West Coast. It is voted upon by coaches from those conferences, with one coach per conference casting a vote (Eastern Kentucky’s Jeff Neubauer is the OVC representative).
NCAA Statistical Leaders: In the latest set of NCAA statistical leaders released on Dec. 17, Eastern Kentucky ranks second nationally in turnover margin (+7.9/game) while Belmont ranks sixth nationally in 3-pointers made/game (9.0). Austin Peay is 11th in fewest personal fouls/game (13.5) and 13th in 3-point percentage (40.3%) while Morehead State is 10th in steals (10.5/game). Murray State is 25th in scoring offense (79.2 points/game) and 21st in field goal percentage (48.2%). Southeast Missouri State ranks 15th in field goal percentage defense (36.2%) and 19th in 3-point percentage defense (25.2%). Jacksonville State ranks 15th in 3-point percentage defense (25.2%). Individually Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan ranks seventh nationally in scoring (21.3 points/game) and 10th in 3-pointers made/game (3.4). Belmont’s Ian Clark is fourth nationally in both 3-point percentage (52.0%) and fifth in 3-pointers made/game (3.9). Murray State’s Ed Daniel is fifth in rebounding (11.7/game) and fifth in double-doubles (6). Austin Peay’s Chris Horton is 11th in blocks (3.0/game) while Southeast Missouri’s Nino Johnson is 14th (2.9/game). APSU’s Travis Betran is eighth in 3-point percentage (50.9%) while Tennessee State’s Patrick Miller is 14th in assists (6.5/game).
The 2012-13 Season: The 2012-13 season marks the 65th of competition in the OVC. Over the previous 64 years, 12 different teams have claimed an OVC regular season championship.
This Week’s Schedule
Tuesday, December 18
Tennessee Tech at Auburn, 7:00 p.m.
Tennessee State at Middle Tennessee, 7:00 p.m.
Lipscomb at Austin Peay, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Jacksonville State at Nebraska, 8:00 p.m. (Big Ten Network)
Wednesday, December 19
Eastern Kentucky at North Carolina A&T, 6:00 p.m.
South Dakota State at Belmont, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Robert Morris-Springfield at SIUE, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Morehead State at South Dakota, 7:00 p.m.
New Orleans at Southeast Missouri, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Samford at UT Martin, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Eastern Illinois at Saint Louis, 7:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Midwest)
Murray State at Arkansas State, 7:35 p.m. (ESPN3)
Friday, December 21
Eastern Kentucky at High Point, 6:00 p.m.
Morehead State at North Dakota State, 7:00 p.m.
USC Upstate at Tennessee State, 7:00 p.m. (OVC Digital Network)
Saturday, December 22
Murray State at Dayton, 11:00 a.m. (CBS Sports Network)
Tennessee Tech at #24 Oklahoma State, 12:00 p.m.
Southeast Missouri at UMKC, 12:05 p.m.
Austin Peay at Illinois State, 2:00 p.m.
Eastern Illinois at Drake, 2:00 p.m.
adidas® OVC Players of the Week
Isaiah Canaan, G • Sr., 6-1, 195 • Biloxi, Miss. • Murray State
Canaan hit 7-of-16 (43.8%) shots, 4-of-8 (50%) 3-pointers and 3-of-4 free throws on his way to 21 points in a 75-70 victory over Western Kentucky on Sunday. Canaan also dished out five assists and committed only two turnovers in 38 minutes of action at the point. During the back-and-forth affair in the second half, Canaan nailed a 3-pointer with 6:55 to play to put the Racers on top for good. Canaan currently leads the OVC in scoring (21.3 points/game) and ranks sixth in assists (4.0/game).
Robert Covington, F • Sr., 6-9, 215 • Bellwood, Ill. • Tennessee State
In his lone game of the week, Covington hit 9-of-17 (52.9%) shots, 3-of-5 (60%) 3-pointers and 10-of-11 free throws (90.9%) on his way to a career-high 31 points in a 79-39 victory over LeMoyne-Owen. He also pulled down 11 rebounds to net his third double-double of the season. Covington also added a pair of blocks in 27 minutes of action. He currently ranks fourth in the OVC in scoring (17.5 points/game) and rebounding (7.5/game).
Others Nominated: Trevor Noack, Belmont; Darion Rackley, Jacksonville State; Jud Dillard, Tennessee Tech; Myles Taylor, UT Martin.
Corey Walden, G • R-So., 6-2, 206 • Daytona Beach, Fla. • Eastern Kentucky
Walden hit 9-of-13 shots (69.2%) on his way to a game-high 21 points in a loss to No. 10 Illinois on Sunday. The transfer from Brevard Community College was 8-of-9 on field goal attempts from inside the 3-point line and hit 2-of-3 free throws. His free throw with 9:48 to play capped a 16-6 Colonel run to pull the team to within four points (42-38). Walden also added two rebounds, two steals and an assist.
Others Nominated: Travis Betran, Austin Peay; Dexter Fields, Murray State; Jeremiah Samarrippas, Tennessee Tech.
Chris Horton, C • Fr., 6-8, 205 • Decatur, Ga. • Austin Peay
Horton recorded his third double-double of the season on Sunday, scoring 10 points and grabbing a season-high 13 rebounds in a road loss at Arkansas State. The freshman also had four blocks, three steals and two assists in 34 minutes of action. It marked the ninth time in 10 games this season that Horton had at least three blocks in a game; he currently leads the OVC in blocked shots (3.0/game).
Lanerryl Johnson, G • Fr., 6-1, 170 • Atlanta, Ga. • Tennessee Tech
Johnson came off the bench to score 15 points, grab four rebounds, dish out three assists and net three steals as Tennessee Tech went on the road to defeat Milwaukee 69-58 on Saturday. Johnson scored eight of his 15 points after halftime as TTU built a four-point halftime lead back up to double digits. Johnson currently ranks third on the Golden Eagle team in scoring (10.3 points/game).
Others Nominated: none
OVC Team Notes
Austin Peay: After a week between games to complete final exams for the fall semester, Austin Peay was back on the court on Sunday at Arkansas State…The Governors led by five points at halftime and by as many as eight in the second half before a 16-3 Red Wolves run gave ASU a 53-45 lead with 7:13 to play; Arkansas State would go on to win 69-57…It marked the second-straight game that APSU had shot 50 percent or better from the field and lost; the Govs hit 23-of-46 shots overall and 7-of-12 (58.3%) from 3-point range…Junior newcomer Travis Betran scored 21 points (his second-straight 20-plus point game) as he hit 9-of-16 (56.3%) shots from the field and 3-of-6 (50%) from long range; over the last seven games he is averaging 19.9 points/game…Overall Betran ranks ninth in the OVC in scoring through 10 games (16.9 points/game); Betran currently ranks eighth nationally in 3-point percentage (50.9%)…Freshman Chris Horton had his third double-double of the season as he scored 10 points and grabbed a season-best 13 rebounds; Horton also had three steals, dished out two assists and blocked four shots…It marked the ninth time this season he had three or more blocks in a game; Horton is first in the OVC with 3.0 blocks/game, a mark that ranks 11th nationally…APSU leads the OVC in 3-point percentage (40.3%, a mark that is 13th nationally) and blocks (5.5/game)…This week Austin Peay will host Lipscomb on Tuesday night before playing the first of five games away from home…That road swing starts with a Saturday contest at Illinois State.
Belmont: Belmont, one of just two OVC teams to play two games last week, split its contests, hammered in-state rival Middle Tennessee 64-49 at the Curb Event Center (the program’s 100th win in that building since opening in Nov. 2003) before falling 89-60 at No. 9 Kansas to close the week…Against MTSU the Bruins led just 30-26 at halftime (as JJ Mann nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer) before opening the second half on a 16-3 run and never led by less than double digits again…Despite struggling from 3-point range (4-of-16) Belmont shot 50 percent from the field on the night and limited the Blue Raiders to just 28.6 percent from the field and 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from long range…Kerron Johnson led the way with 17 points and five assists while Ian Clark added 15 points on 3-of-8 3-point shooting…Against KU the Bruins hit just 8-of-38 (21.1%) from 3-point range as Trevor Noack led the way with 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting; for the week Noack averaged 12.5 points and 7.5 rebounds/game and hit 45.8 percent from the field…This season BU has already faced five teams who won conference or postseason tournaments a season ago (Stanford, Oral Roberts, VCU, MTSU and Kansas)…As a team Belmont ranks sixth nationally in 3-pointers made/game (9.0)…Belmont leads the OVC in 3-pointers made and is second in scoring (75.1 points/game), 3-point percentage (38.6%), steals (9.2/game), turnover margin (+3.3) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.1)…Belmont will play just once this week, hosting mid-major power South Dakota State on Wednesday…SDSU enters the week 9-3 overall with losses to Alabama, Hofstra and No. 14 Minnesota; the team features Nate Wolters who is averaging 19.9 points and 6.0 assists/game.
Eastern Illinois: Eastern Illinois was idle last week and have not played since losing at home to Toledo on Dec. 8…EIU is looking to snap a four-game losing streak…The team will play its next five games away from home, starting with regional rival Saint Louis on Wednesday night…The game can be seen on FOX Sports Midwest…The week concludes with a Saturday contest at Drake…Through 11 games this season Josh Piper is the only Panther who is averaging double figures (12.1 points/game); Piper is also second on the team in rebounding (5.0/game) and is hitting 47.3 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from 3-point range.
Eastern Kentucky: Eastern Kentucky saw its undefeated season coming to an end on Sunday at No. 10 Illinois, falling 66-53 at Assembly Hall…The Colonels trailed by five points at halftime before falling down by 14 points early in the second half…EKU was able to trim the margin to 42-38 with 9:48 to play before losing by 13 points…EKU once again took care of the ball (committing only 10 turnovers to 20 by the Illini) but hit just 36.2 percent from the field while Illinois hit 50 percent…Redshirt sophomore Corey Walden led the way a game-high 21 points on 9-of-13 (69.2%) shooting; Walden’s basket and free throw midway through the second half capped a 16-6 run that trimmed the margin to four points…Glenn Cosey, who ranks fifth in the OVC in scoring (17.0 points/game), added 11 points…Senior Mike DiNunno scored just two points but had five assists, four steals and non turnovers in 34 minutes of action; DiNunno ranks second in the OVC in assists (4.7/game) and fourth in steals (2.0/game)…EKU leads the OVC in assists (15.2/game), turnover margin (+7.9/game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and is second in field goal percentage (48.1%), scoring defense (61.1 points/game) and scoring margin (+12.0/game)…Their +7.9 turnover margin also ranks them second nationally…Eastern Kentucky continues its six-game road swing with a Wednesday game at North Carolina A&T and a Friday night contest at High Point…Following that game the Colonels will have nine days off being playing at West Virginia on Dec. 30 (Root Sports/ESPN3).
Jacksonville State: Jacksonville State was one of just two OVC teams to play two games last week, as the team had completed final exams the week prior…The Gamecocks topped Martin Methodist 79-64 before going on the road to best Presbyterian 66-59 in overtime on Saturday…That marked JSU’s second overtime game in its last four contests overall (both of which they have won)…It was the fifth-straight win overall for the Gamecocks who are now 8-2 on the season, the best 10-game start for the program in its 18-year Division I history…Jax State begins this week ranked No. 89 in the RPI…With its balanced offensive attack, JSU had not had a 20-point scorer in its first eight games of the season until Darion Rackley had 27 and Ronnie Boggs had 20 against Martin Methodist; Brian Williams added 24 points at Presbyterian…For the week Rackley averaged 21.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.5 assists/game while hitting 48 percent from the field and 50 percent (8-fo-16) from 3-point range; he hit 6-of-10 3-pointers in the win over Martin Methodist…In that game Williams had nine points, nine assists and six rebounds; Williams hit 6-of-10 3-pointers against PC while also dishing out four assists…JSU leads the OVC in scoring defense (59.9 points/game) and 3-point percentage defense (25.2%); that 3-point percentage defense ranks JSU 15th nationally…This week Jacksonville State travels to Nebraska for a Tuesday night game on the Big Ten Network…That game is the last for the Gamecocks until they open OVC play with a home game against Tennessee Tech on Dec. 29.
Morehead State: Morehead State had last week off to take final exams…MSU currently ranks first in the OVC in steals (10.5/game) and second in rebounding margin (+3.2); that steals mark currently ranks the team 10th nationally…Through 10 games Milton Chavis leads the team (and ranks 13th in the OVC) in scoring (14.3 points/game) while the team has seven other players who average between 5.3 and 9.0 points/game as part of a balanced attack…The Eagles return to the court for the first time in 11 days on Wednesday as the play at South Dakota; MSU lost 57-56 at home to USD a season ago…The week concludes with a rematch with North Dakota State on Friday in Fargo…The two teams played in Morehead on Dec. 5 with the Bison coming out on top 69-57…In that game MSU shot just 30 percent from the field and 11.8 percent (2-of-17) from 3-point range…North Dakota State enters this week with a 9-3 record, with two of its losses coming to Top 13 teams (Indiana, Minnesota)…The two road games are the last for Morehead State until Jan. 9.
Murray State: Murray State improved to 8-1 on the season with a 75-70 victory over rival Western Kentucky on Sunday…It marked the fifth win in a row for the Racers since losing to Colorado at the Charleston Classic on Nov. 18…It is also the sixth-straight home victory for the Racers dating back to last season…MSU enters the week ranked 20th in the RPI, making them the highest-ranked OVC team in those rankings…In front of a crowd of more than 7,000 at the CFSB Center, senior Isaiah Canaan scored 21 points and dished out five assists; he stretched his school record streak of games with a made 3-pointer to 19 and currently ranks seventh nationally in scoring (21.3 points/game…Ed Daniel had 16 points and eight rebounds, snapping a streak of six-straight games with a double-double; Daniel ranks fifth nationally in rebounding (11.7/game) and fifth in double-doubles (6)…Stacy Wilson added 13 points, five rebounds and three assists while newcomer Dexter Fields had a season-high 14 points and four rebounds and Brandon Garrett had eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds…Murray State currently leads the OVC in scoring (79.2 points/game), field goal percentage (48.2%) and scoring margin (+13.1)…Murray State enters this week with the nation’s longest road winning streak (15 games), a streak that dates back to the end of the 2010-11 season…If that streak is to continue it will take a big effort this week as MSU plays games at Arkansas State (ESPN3) on Wednesday and at Dayton (CBS Sports Network) on Saturday…Dayton enters the week No. 70 in the RPI; the Flyers are 8-2 on the season with one of its losses coming to Colorado (the only team who has beaten Murray State) at the Charleston Classic.
Southeast Missouri: Southeast Missouri did not play a game last week as it had final exams…The Redhawks enter this week trying to end a two-game losing streak…Southeast Missouri currently leads the OVC in rebounding (40.0/game) and field goal percentage defense (36.3%)…Individually Tyler Stone ranks seventh in the OVC in scoring (16.9 points/game) and third in rebounding (8.9/game)…Nino Johnson currently leads the OVC with 35 total blocked shots on the season (a 2.9/game average, which ranks second in the league and 14th nationally)…Overall Johnson is averaging a double-double on the season (12.3 points, 10.1 rebounds/game)…The week begins with a Wednesday home contest with New Orleans; that game is the second of a home-and-home series this season as the Redhawks won 83-67 in New Orleans on Nov. 29…In that game Southeast hit 53.3 percent from the field and 58.3 percent (7-of-12) from 3-point range while limiting the Privateers to 38.1 percent from the field and 9.1 percent (1-of-11) from 3-point range; Stone had 23 points and 14 rebounds in the game while Johnson added 11 points and 11 boards…The week ends on Saturday with a road contest at UMKC.
SIUE: SIUE was off last week as its students finished up final exams…The Cougars are back on the court for the first time since Dec. 8 on Monday night when Eureka College pays a visit to Edwardsville…Two days later the team will host Robert Morris-Springfield…That game is the last for nine days for the team who does not play again until Dec. 28 when it plays at regional rival Saint Louis…Seven games into the season senior Jerome Jones leads the team with a 15.8 points/game average…The Cougars are looking to getting back to full strength soon as multiple players have missed time, including senior Mark Yelovich who has missed three games this season.
Tennessee State: Tennessee State ended an eight-day layoff with a 79-39 home victory over LeMoyne-Owen on Sunday…The 40-point victory was the largest margin of victory for the Tigers since the 1997-98 season (a 45-point win over Fisk)…TSU is now 3-0 at the Gentry Center on the season…Senior Robert Covington hit 9-of-17 shots, 3-of-5 3-pointers and 10-of-11 free throws on his way to 31 points; Covington also had 11 rebounds to record his third double-double of the season…Overall 13 Tennessee State players saw action in the game with 10 of them breaking into the scoring column…Tennessee State ranks first in the OVC in rebounding margin (+3.3/game) and second in free throw percentage (71.4%)…On Tuesday the Tigers will play at in-state rival Middle Tennessee…The week ends with the Tigers hosting USC Upstate for a Friday night contest…That is the last game for TSU until Dec. 29.
Tennessee Tech: Tennessee Tech saw its first game action in a week on Saturday when the Golden Eagles traveled to play Milwaukee…TTU shot 47.5 percent from the field and forced 16 turnovers and held the Panthers to 32.2 percent shooting in winning 69-58…The victory improved Tech’s road record to 2-3 on the season…Junior forward Dennis Ogbe had a season-high 15 points and eight rebounds while Jud Dillard recorded his fourth double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds…Tech is 6-0 on the season when Dillard leads the team in scoring…Dillard ranks second in the OVC in scoring (18.7 points/game) and fifth in rebounding (7.5/game)…Junior newcomer Jeremiah Samarrippas had 10 points, six assists, four steals and four rebounds in the victory; Samarrippas ranks fifth in the OVC in assists (4.2/game)…Freshman Lanerryl Johnson added 15 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals in the win; Johnson is currently the top scoring freshman in the OVC at 10.3 points/game…Overall TTU leads the OVC in rebounding defense (31.0/game)…Tennessee Tech continues its five-game road swing with a game at Auburn on Tuesday night and at No. 24 Oklahoma State (FOX Sports Oklahoma) on Saturday.
UT Martin: UT Martin played ended a week break of basketball with a game at Saint Louis on Saturday, falling 73-51 to the Billikens…The game did mark the return of three injured starters, Jeremy Washington (six games), Justin Childs (one game) and Bobby Jones (one game); that trio combined for 17 points in the game…Sophomore Myles Taylor led the way with 20 points on 8-of-14 (57.1%) shooting in 28 minutes of action; Taylor was the only Skyhawk to score in double figures…Overall UTM shot just 34 percent from the field…Overall the Skyhawks ranks first in the OVC in free throw percentage (74.6%)…UT Martin plays just once this week, hosting former OVC foe Samford on Wednesday night…The last time those two teams played, UTM topped Samford 101-94 in triple overtime in the first round of the 2008 OVC Tournament…Following that game the team will go 10 days before playing Southeast Missouri on Dec. 29…That game against Southeast Missouri will be the final road game for the Skyhawks until Jan. 10.
SectionsBasketball (Men), Featured Story, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, Schools, Sports
TopicsAustin Peay, Austin Peay State University, Basketball, Clarksville, Clarksville Sports Network, Dave Loos, Govs, Lady govs, NCAA, Ohio Valley Conference, OVC, Tennessee
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