The Murray State Racers will host the Eastern Illinois Panthers for an Ohio Valley Conference rematch on Thursday.
The game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET. While it won’t be broadcast nationally on television anywhere in the US, you can still watch a live stream of the game on your computer, phone, or streaming device via ESPN+, the new digital streaming service from ESPN (no cable required) that has exclusive coverage to dozens of college basketball games–and several other sports–every week.
You can start a free seven-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other compatible streaming device via the ESPN app.
If you can’t watch live, all games — including Eastern Illinois vs Murray State — that are streamed on ESPN+ are also available to be watched afterwards on-demand via ESPN.com or the ESPN app.
Eastern Illinois vs Murray State Preview
These teams met at Eastern Illinois’ Lantz Arena back on January 17. Racers star Ja Morant scored 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and dished 10 assists to three turnovers in an 83-61 victory.
“I mean, it just wasn’t a very good night,” Eastern Illinois head coach Jay Spoonhour said, according to the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier. “We didn’t play well, but they were really good. A lot of guys for them were really good.”
Josiah Wallace, the Panthers’ leading scorer, shot just 2-of-13 from the field for five points. His fellow sophomore guard Mack Smith went off for 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting.
“We were able to do a good job on [Wallace] in the first matchup, we know he’ll come in looking to score,” Murray State head coach Matt McMahon told the Murray Ledger & Times. “He’s been excellent for them all season.
“Mack Smith really hurt us in that game at their place. I thought he played really well. I think he had 22 or 24 and shot a high percentage. We were really good on the glass in that game. I thought our defense was terrific up there.”
Morant, a sophomore, is first in the nation with 10.3 assists per game. His 24.1 points per contest are good for ninth. He’s expected to be selected in the lottery of the upcoming NBA draft.
“With him, he has the ball in his hands so much that you can kind of game plan it that way, but really we can’t go changing a bunch of stuff,” Spoonhour added. “There are certain things that you can try and do, but you’re better just doing what you’ve practice doing and just do a better job of it.”
Both teams have gone 3-2 since their January matchup. On Saturday, the Racers (17-4 overall, 8-2 in OVC play) trailed Tennessee Tech by five with 3:14 remaining. From there, Morant scored or assisted on 11 of Murray State’s last 12 points as his team came back for a 67-63 win.
“Well, I am proud of our guys for finding a way to win,” McMahon said, according to WPSD. “Obviously we didn’t play well, but I thought we played extremely hard. I think we easily could have folded there, so I am just proud of our guys gutting it out and finding a way to get a win.”
That same day, the Panthers (13-10 overall, 6-4 in the OVC) turned the ball over three times in the final minute and five times in the final three minutes of an 84-78 home loss to Morehead State.
“I feel like it was just execution down the stretch, we had turnovers when we did not need them, that was really it,” sophomore guard Kashawn Charles said, according to The Daily Eastern News.