The Mocs go to Richmond, Kentucky and steps out of Southern Conference play as they take on the
Eastern Kentucky Colonels. EKU sits at 16-7 overall and 7-3 in OVC play. They have won six of their last seven, with the lone loss coming to Belmont by three on the road. They are 9-1 at home on the year, with the lone loss coming to Murray State on January 9. This team is a real threat to win the OVC, and the Mocs have a real uphill battle on their hands as they try to take out the Colonels.
The good news for the Mocs is that while they rank 337th in height (per Pomeroy), Eastern Kentucky ranked 327th. This is one time the Mocs will not have a massive size disadvantage (assuming no injuries). The Colonels rank 344th in the country in offensive rebounding percentage and 226th in defensive rebounding percentage. The Mocs, despite being short, are a better rebounding team. They need to outrebound the Colonels to have a chance, and they may be able to do it.
What do the Colonels do well? Shoot the ball. They rank 7th in the country in eFG%. They rank 2nd in shooting from two point range and 77th in three point shooting. That kind of shooting could be a major problem for a team like the Mocs, that have struggled on the defensive end at times this year.
Eric Stutz is the Colonels tallest player. He is 6-8. He leads the team with 4.6 rebounds per game and 8.0 points per game. He is avearging 12.3 points per game in the last six games along with 5.5 rebounds. That even includes the most recent game, when Stutz was plagued by foul trouble and scored just six points with two rebounds in 19 minutes. He is shooting 68.2% from the field during that stretch. Z Mason will need to beat Stutz head to head and if he does, the Mocs may have a chance to win.
Glenn Cosey is the player that really makes this team go. Cosey is shooting 41.8% from three point range, and averaging 19.1 points per game. He leads the team in assists with 4.4 per game, and is third in rebounding with 3.5 per contest. He is also an 87.8% free throw shooter. He has only been held in single digits once all year- against Murray State in a disappointing 13 point home loss, when he scored just five points.
Corey Walden is the team's second leading scorer and is also second in assists. He is also second in rebounds. He averages 13.1 points, 2.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 31.3% from three point range, but 47.2% from the floor. He is 6-2. He will be a tough match-up for the Mocs when he tries to drive the ball.
Marcus Lewis is 6-4 and shooting 55.9% from the floor. He is scoring 11.0 points per game. He is a pretty good player at scoring inside the lane, but struggles from the free throw line (56.3%). The Mocs will need Lance Stokes or Casey Jones to match up with him.
The Colonels defense ranks 329th in eFG% and fouls an exceptional amount. The Colonels force a ton of turnovers, though, ranking 6th in the country in TO%. The Colonels offense scores 35% of their points from three point range, which ranks 18th in the country. They score 43% of their points from two point range which is 337th in the country. So the Mocs will need to try to force the Colonels inside to Stutz and Cosey, and then hope that they can control them. They will need to also get to the free throw line and try to win the game from there, something they've been good out during their hot streak.
The Mocs three point defense has been pretty good this year. But they haven't faced a team as good as this from three point range yet. This team actually ranks as better than Davidson. That's bad. But they are a much better match-up for the Mocs. Mason, Jones and Stokes should play pretty well, and Martynas Bareika needs to be hot. If Rico White is spending a lot of time on the free throw line, they could have a chance late. My bet is that they keep it close far into this one, but come up just a little short in the end. Colonels 80, Mocs 74.