Racers to take on fellow OVC member UT Martin

Senior Isaiah Cannan and junior Dexter Fields set up the offense during Saturday's BracketBuster game. Though the Racers have secured the second seed for the OVC Championship, the team looks to put an exclamation point on their season with a win at home. || Lori Allen/TheNews
Senior Isaiah Cannan and junior Dexter Fields set up the offense during Saturday's BracketBuster game. Though the Racers have secured the second seed for the OVC Championship, the team looks to put an exclamation point on their season with a win at home. || Lori Allen/TheNews

Senior Isaiah Canaan and junior Dexter Fields set up the offense during Saturday’s BracketBuster game. Though the Racers have secured the second seed for the OVC Championship, the team looks to put an exclamation point on their season with a win at home. || Lori Allen/TheNews

With the two seed already locked up for the OVC Tournament, the Racers will face the UT Martin Skyhawks Thursday night at the CFSB Center at 7 p.m.

Though there is no ground to be gained or lost in the conference tournament seeding, the Racers will undoubtedly look to send the most successful senior class in program history out in style in its final two games at the CFSB Center.

With his time as a Racer quickly winding down, senior guard Isaiah Canaan continues to rewrite the record books. He currently has 1,946 career points, good for sixth all time. Canaan is trailing Murray State legend Howie Crittenden who finished with 2,019.

Additionally, Canaan remains 54 points shy of becoming just the sixth player in school history to surpass the 2,000 point mark. Canaan will need two big games if he wants to reach the milestone Saturday night in front of the 30 plus family members who will be in attendance for senior night.

Freshmen C.J. Ford and Jeffery Moss also continue to impress Racer fans despite their inexperience. Throughout the last several games, the freshmen guards have played important roles coming off the bench to give the starters chances to rest and stay fresh.

Ford is averaging 12.7 minutes over the last three games, often coming in for Canaan and running the offense. While he is averaging just three points in those three games, Ford’s most notable contributions have come on the defensive end, putting significant pressure on the ball handler and often taking on the opponent’s top scorers.

Moss has led the freshmen class in production all season, but has also seen his playing time significantly increase over the last three games. In the Racers’ last game against South Dakota State, Moss logged 29 minutes – second only to Canaan. He has averaged 7.3 points and 3.7 rebounds while also taking on tough defensive assignments.

UT Martin enters the game playing for their postseason lives. Currently on the outside looking in, the Skyhawks trail SIUE by half a game for the eighth and final spot in Nashville next week. A loss to the Racers would severely damage the Skyhawk’s postseason aspirations.

The Skyhawks are led by last season’s OVC Freshman of the Year, forward Myles Taylor. He has followed up his impressive freshman season with another solid year, leading his team in scoring with 16.9 points per game and rebounds with 7.6 per game.

UT Martin also relies heavily on junior guard Mike Liabo, who finished last season as the seventh leading scorer in the conference. Liabo is dangerous from 3-point range, shooting over 37 percent.

Despite ranking as one of the bottom teams in the conference, the Skyhawks will likely pose a tough test for the Racers, desperately needing a win to improve their postseason hopes.

Story by Jonathan Ferris, Staff writer.