The Colonels will try for a 4-1 start in the Ohio Valley Conference today for the first time since the 1991-1992 season.

Eastern Kentucky University lost to Austin Peay, 75-65, on Dec. 22 — the team’s first league loss — and now once again hits the road to try and pick up a win against conference-leading Southeast Missouri State (9-5, 4-0 OVC).

Tip is set for 8:30 p.m. in Cape Girardeau.

It will be the second time Missouri native Adam Leonard plays in his home state as a Colonel. The sophomore guard recorded a career-high 22 points last time at SEMO. He was six-of-10 from behind the three-point line.

Leonard is coming off his season-best 20 points against the Governors. He went six-of-12 from three-point range in Clarksville.

The point guard has had to focus more on running the offense this season and he already has almost half of the assists he collected as a freshman (86). Leonard averages 3.2 assists a game and may be more importantly to coach Jeff Neubauer, has just 14 turnovers all season.

In two-thirds of this season’s games the sophomore has had one or no turnovers. His assist-to-turnover ratio (2.71) is second in the OVC behind JSU’s DeAndre Bray.

At times Leonard has struggled to score — he was held scoreless for the first time against Western Kentucky, — but is still averaging 9.2 points per game (third best on the team).

“Quite honestly the whole team is learning our roles,” Neubauer said. “We are gelling and finding where we can contribute.”

The third-year coach stresses defense and said he feels the last few practices have shown great improvement on that end of the court.

However, Neubauer isn’t sure the improvements will show up against SEMO.

The Redhawks have victories over Tennessee Tech, Tennessee State, Samford and Jacksonville State. SEMO squeaked out wins over the Bulldogs, 63-62, and the Gamecocks, 81-80.

“SEMO is off to great start 4-0 and has the best overall record in the conference,” Neubauer said. “They are doing it with so much depth. They play so many guys, so many minutes and they are on a roll right now and they play very well at home.”

EKU is led offensive by Mike Rose (13.8 ppg) and Darnell Dialls (12.2).

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