The Richmond Register

January 17, 2013

OVC HOOPS: EKU, Belmont set for big OVC showdown

By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer

— The Colonels will try to extend their perfect start in OVC play today when they take on conference newcomer Belmont.

Game time is set for 8 p.m. in Nashville.

The game between OVC East division foes features a matchup of two of the last three unbeaten OVC teams as they both enter with 4-0 records in league play.

The two teams have played twice before with each winning one game.

The Bruins are off to a good start in their first season in the OVC, winning their four conference games by an average margin of 29 points. The Bruins are 13-4 overall and have a win over PAC-12 member Stanford.

Belmont leads the OVC in scoring (76.9 ppg), scoring margin (+14.9), field goal percentage (48.6 percent) and field goal percentage defense (38.3 percent). The Bruins are second in the league in scoring defense (61.9 ppg), three-point field goal percentage (39 percent), three-point field goal percentage defense (29 percent) and turnover margin (-3.5).

Belmont is led by Ian Clark who is averaging 18.8 points, three rebounds and two assists per game. He had 32 in the Bruins’ victory over UT Martin.

Kerron Johnson is the Bruins second leading scorer at 12.9 points per game and Trevor Noack is also averaging double figures at 12.9 points per game.

The Colonels are off to their first 4-0 start in the OVC since beginning league play 5-0 in the 1978-79 season. This is the sixth time EKU has started conference play with four or more straight wins. Their best start ever was 7-0.

EKU moved up one spot to No. 17 in this week’s CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 poll. Belmont moved up to No. 8 in this week’s poll.

With their wins over Murray State and Morehead last week, the Colonels improved their NCAA RPI ranking from 125 to 92. Belmont has an RPI of 32.

In his last three games, EKU sophomore Corey Walden is averaging 15 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 41 percent from the field and 96 percent from the free throw line. Junior newcomer Tarius Johnson was named OVC Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com on Monday. Johnson averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists in wins over Murray State and Morehead State. He shot 58 percent from the field.

Jacksonville State game televised

EKU’s men’s basketball game at Jacksonville State on Saturday will be televised live by FOX Sports South beginning at 2:30 p.m.

It will also be broadcast live on OVCDigitalNetwork.com.

This will be the third time EKU’s games have been televised this season. Prior games at Illinois and West Virginia were also televised.