Men's Basketball

EKU heads to Belmont for battle of OVC unbeatens

EKU guard Corey Walden shoots over Morehead forward Drew Kelly in the second half at Alumni Coliseum in Richmond, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. EKU won 59-52.
Photo by Tim Webb
EKU guard Corey Walden shoots over Morehead forward Drew Kelly in the second half at Alumni Coliseum in Richmond, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. EKU won 59-52. Photo by Tim Webb LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER

The Eastern Kentucky University men's basketball team takes its unbeaten Ohio Valley Conference record on the road Thursday for a showdown with fellow league unbeaten Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

EKU (14-3 overall, 4-0 OVC) and Belmont (13-4, 4-0) trail only conference leader Tennessee State, which has a 5-0 league record.

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

Belmont, which moved to the OVC from the Atlantic Sun Conference last summer, has beaten its first four conference opponents by an average margin of 29 points.

The all-time series between the teams is tied 1-1. The Colonels won in Richmond in 1998 and the Bruins earned a victory in Nashville in 1999.

After beating Murray State and Morehead State last week, Eastern Kentucky moved from 125 to 92 in the latest NCAA RPI rankings. 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 averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and two assists in the wins over Murray State and Morehead State. He shot 58 percent from the field.

Belmont leads the OVC in scoring (76.9 ppg), scoring margin (plus-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 (minus-3.5).

Belmont is led by Ian Clark, a 6-foot-3 senior guard averaging 19 points, three rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 57 percent from the field and 49 percent from three-point range.

The live radio broadcast of the game is available in the Richmond area on WCYO 100.7 FM, and can be heard worldwide on EKUSports.com. A live video broadcast of the game is available on OVCDigitalNetwork.com.

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