MOREHEAD, Ky. – The Morehead State men’s basketball team travels to Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday night for the first of two match-ups with first place Belmont. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. ET.
The Eagles enter the contest at 12-9 overall and 6-3 in the OVC. Following wins over Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky, MSU is looking to win their third straight game. They have two winning streaks of three games or more this season. They won four straight from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2 (at NKU, vs. Marshall, vs. So. Miss, at SLU) and three straight from Jan. 7 to Jan. 14 (vs. SEMO, vs. UTM, at SIUE).
In the win at EKU, Morehead State limited the Colonels, the best three-point shooting team in the OVC at the time, to just 1-of-17 from deep. They shot 1-of-9 in the first half and 0-of-8 in the second half. The Eagles rank seventh in the OVC in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing 35 percent.
After scoring in double digits just three times through his first 16 games, junior guard Xavier Moon has scored 14 or more points in his last five contests. He is averaging 18.6 points in those five games, while shooting 57 percent overall. He has shot 12-of-22 from deep during that span.
He scored a career-high 24 points in the win over TTU and followed that with a team-high 22 against JSU.
He ranks second on the team with 10.5 points per game and 28 made three-pointers. He is shooting 46.7 percent from deep, which leads the OVC.
Like Moon, senior forward Anthony Elechi has increased his scoring output. After failing to score double digits in his first nine games, the senior from Elmont, N.Y. has scored in double digits in nine of his last 12 games. He scored a career-high 18 points at SIUE, all of which came in the second half and overtime. He recorded his first double-double of the year with 15 points and a career-high 14 rebounds vs. TTU. His 14 rebounds are the most by an Eagle this year.
He is shooting 59 percent on the season and is averaging 8.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 18.3 minutes. Elechi ranks fifth in the OVC with 2.7 offensive rebounds per game and his plus/minus of +142 is the best on the team.
Junior forward DeJuan “Rico” Marrero recorded his fourth double-double of the year with 11 points and 12 rebounds at Eastern Kentucky. The Gary, Ind. native leads the team with 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 offensive rebounds per game, both which rank fifth in the OVC.
In 14 of 21 games, he has led the Eagles in rebounds.
The Eagles have a +5.0 rebounding advantage, which ranks first in the OVC. 40 percent of their rebounds are of the offensive variety, good for 14.7 per game, which ranks first in the OVC and seventh in the country. MSU is giving up just 32.0 defensive rebounds per game, which leads the OVC.
In 11 of 21 games, they have outrebounded their opponent by five or more rebounds and they are 8-3 in those games. The Eagles are 0-5 when being outrebounded.
Belmont ranks last in the OVC in offensive rebounding with 8.2 per game.
The Bruins are 16-7 overall and 8-1 in the OVC. They are coming off of their first loss in league play, a 89-79 defeat at Tennessee Tech. With 82.4 points per game, they rank first in the OVC. They also rank first with 283 three-pointers made.
Junior Evan Bradds leads the team and ranks third in the OVC with 18.3 points per game. He also leads the country with an impressive 71.7 shooting percentage. He ranks third in the OVC with 9.7 rebounds.
Belmont owns a 6-1 all-time advantage against Morehead State. Belmont won the first five meetings between the two teams until the Eagles won at home last season, 73-71. MSU is 0-3 against Belmont on the road.
The game will air on the OVC Digital Network and will be broadcast on the Eagle Sports Radio Network with Chuck Mraz and Jason Blanton calling all of the action. The radio network includes WIVY-96.3 FM and several affiliates throughout eastern Kentucky. A live audio stream can be found on MSUEagles.com and the Eagle Empire app.