The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

February 14, 2012

MSU hits the stretch run

By Dave Morrison
Register-Herald Sports Writer

— Mountain State will be embarking on a first this week as it heads to Campbellsville (Ky.) to take on the 18-8 Tigers.

It is the first of a two-game road trip in which MSU will face ranked teams (Lee, Tenn., is the other ) which have already beaten the Cougars at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center.

Of course, two losses at home rarely happens.

Mountain State last lost twice at home during the 2001-02 season.

Still, the newness of the situation isn’t lost on MSU coach Bob Bolen.

“We’ve got a week that is as hard as anyone in the country,” Bolen said. “Two face two ranked teams on the road, after they’ve beaten us at home; that’s never happened at Mountain State. We have a tough week ahead of us.”

First up is Campbellsville (18-8), tonight at 7:30 p.m. The game broadcast can be heard on WTNJ 105.9-FM.

Campbellsville beat MSU 73-70 Dec. 10.

The Tigers are led by senior point guard Cedric Henderson, a 6-foot Houston native, who is averaging a team-best 16.2 points per game and has 155 assists.

Justin Ennis, a 5-11 junior from Huntsville, Texas, is averaging 12.3 points and is shooting 44.2 percent from 3-point range (68 of 154). Reggie Smith, a 6-5 senior forward from Louisville, Ky., is averaging 10.4 and he has 50 3s.

“They have tremendous guard play,” Bolen said. “Henderson may be the best point guard we’ve played against. And Ennis is a tremendous shooter. He was 7 out of 8 on 3s when they beat Georgetown last week. They are the best guard combo we have faced.”

MSU is coming off an 83-64 exhibition win over Ohio Mid-Western College Saturday, a game in which three starters did not play.

MSU (20-6) has won eight in a row, not counting the exhibition win.

“I was pleased we won the game and we were able to get some of the players some game experience,” Bolen said.

“Now we need to finish strong. We have shown the ability to win close games here lately and that has been big. I thought we really played well (two weeks ago) when we went on the road and won three big games.”

During the eight-game streak, MSU went on a seven-day road swing, beating Voorhees, Talladega and Life.

“We have proven we can go on the road and win,” Bolen said. “Now we have to go on the road and beat teams in the Top 25. Not many teams can do that.”

The Cougars are led by Cam Miller, who is averaging 15.4 points, with a team-best 58 3s, and 5.4 rebounds per game. Devon Peterson is averaging 14.2 and Isaiah Hill is averaging a double-double with 13.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per contest (No. 4 nationally), as well as 51 blocks (sixth nationally).

Mark Williams, the Cougars’ point guard, averages 13.3 and has 203 assists on the season, the most in the Independent Region and No. 2 nationally.

David Nyarsuk is averaging 9.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and his 71 blocks is third in the nation.

The Cougars will be at Lee on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Cougars then return home and end the regular season against Emmanuel (Tuesday, Feb. 21) and Allen (S.C., Saturday, Feb. 25).

— E-mail: demorrison@