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Men's Hoops Looks to Make More Strides Forward as they Strive for Win at Vanderbilt Friday

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With several newcomers and new styles to gel, Morehead State men's basketball has made great strides in its first four games of the 2022-23 season, already continuing as one of the best defensive teams in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Eagles get another chance to prove their success against a Power-5 Conference team Friday night.

MSU will meet up with SEC foe Vanderbilt in Nashville's Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m. ET.

Morehead State and Vanderbilt meet for just the fifth time in both team's program histories and the first time since the 2008-09 season. All four matchups in the series have been claimed by the Commodores in Memorial Gym. This marks MSU's third Power 5 opponent this season and second straight.

The game can be heard on the Eagle Sports Radio Network (WIVY-96.3 FM) with Chuck Mraz and Dean Hardin. It is also available on MSUEagles.com as well as network partner WGOH 100.9 FM/1370 AM. The game will be on SEN Network+/ESPN+.

2022-23 RECORDS
MSU: 2-2 | VU: 1-2

SERIES RECORD

Record vs. Vanderbilt: 0-4
First Meeting: 12/21/87 Vandy won 81-67 at Vandy
Last Meeting: 11/16/08 Vandy won 74-48 at Vandy
Streak: VU, 4 games
Record vs. Vandy in Nashville, Tenn.: 0-4
Record vs. Vandy in Morehead: 0-0
Neutral Record: 0-0

NOTABLE
• Morehead State held Bellarmine to just 33 percent shooting last Saturday night, the lowest the Knights had managed to shoot in their three Division I years and the lowest they had shot since 2011-12.

• Four of the Eagles' five starters are averaging 25+ minutes per game so far.

• Among the 8 Division I men's basketball programs in Kentucky, Morehead State ranks first in wins in the last three seasons - 48. Among all 27 college programs in the Bluegrass State, only one - Thomas More - had more wins (48) than the Eagles in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

• Graduate transfer Alex Gross came to MSU with lofty career totals from his four years at Olivet Nazarene (Ill.). He was a three-time NAIA All-American and finished there with 2,021 points, 1,226 rebounds, 426 assists and 363 blocked shots. He earned the NAIA men's basketball CoSIDA Academic All-American of the Year award in 2021-22.

Alex Gross is one of just four current players on Division I teams to score 2,000+ career points in college. He is the only player in Division I to record 2,000+ points AND 1,200+ career rebounds in college.

• Morehead State was selected No. 1 in the preseason Ohio Valley Conference vote of coaches and media relations personnel. Senior guard Mark Freeman was selected to the Preseason All-OVC Team.

Branden Maughmer (pronounced MOFF-mer) exploded for 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists against CU-Harrodsburg. In his college career, he now has 1,747 points and 426 assists. He needs just 74 assists to achieve 1,700+ career points AND 500+ career assists.

• Morehead State has out-rebounded 49 opponents in the past three seasons and won 40 of those games.

LJ Bryan is hitting an amazing 79 percent from the field this season and 61 percent for his Eagle career.

• MSU currently ranks second in the OVC in rebounding margin at +7.5. MSU has ranked No. 1 or 2 in the OVC in rebound margin for the past two seasons.

• Morehead State ranks second in the OVC in scoring defense (69.0), free throw percentage (.732) and three-point defense (.234).

• The Eagles' .813 free throw percentage at West Virginia was the best efficiency in a game (with 10+ attempts) since hitting 92 percent in the OVC Tournament Championship game win over Belmont on March 6, 2021.

• Head coach Preston Spradlin needs six wins to become the sixth head coach in program history to lead his teams to 100+ wins. Spradlin is just the second head coach in program history to lead his teams to back-to-back 20-win seasons.

By Matt Schabert, Morehead State Athletic Media Relations