Eastern Kentucky (9-4) at Eastern Illinois (4-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 2, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,400) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: OVCDN. Home Record: Eastern Kentucky 5-0, Eastern Illinois 3-2. Away Record: Eastern Kentucky 3-3, Eastern Illinois 1-6. Neutral Record: Eastern Kentucky 1-1, Eastern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Eastern Kentucky 0-0, Eastern Illinois 1-0. Series Record: Eastern Kentucky leads, 21-13.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Kentucky Colonels look to extend their current win streak to three games when they travel to face the Eastern Illinois Panthers on Thursday in Ohio Valley Conference action.
The Colonels are coming off a 90-68 trouncing of IPFW Sunday, and will play their first conference matchup of the season when they take on Eastern Illinois. Eastern Kentucky sports a 9-4 overall record.
The Panthers are 1-0 in conference play thanks to a 70-69 win over Tennessee State Saturday. The Panthers are 4-8 on the season and had lost six straight before Saturday's win.
Eastern Kentucky controls the all-time series between the two teams, leading 21-13. The Colonels have won five in a row against the Panthers.
Eastern Kentucky trailed by as many as nine points twice in the first half against IPFW, but a 21-4 run changed that. The Colonels came away with a decisive victory helped by 59 percent shooting from the floor. Marcus Lewis scored a game-high 17 points for EKU. Eric Stutz had 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting, with nine rebounds in the contest. Corey Walden added 11 points, including two second-half 3-pointers in the win.
Lewis is second on the team in scoring with a 12.4 ppg average, while Glenn Cosey leads in that category with 18.7 ppg. Cosey leads the team with a 4.7 apg clip, and shoots 89.2 percent from the free-throw line. Stutz, who averages 7.2 ppg, leads the team with nine blocks and averages 4.6 rpg. Walden has a team-high 27 steals this season for an EKU squad ranked fifth in the country in team steals per game (10.2).
Eastern Illinois got back on track after a six-game losing streak with a last- second win over Tennessee State on Saturday. Chris Olivier scored a basket with two seconds remaining to lift the Panthers to victory against the OVC foe. Sherman Blanford led the team in scoring with 15 points, going 6-of-12 from the floor. Olivier finished the game with 14 points, while Reggie Smith and Alex Austin each added 10. The Panthers never trailed in the first half of action, and led by as many as 15 points. They took a 33-28 lead into the half, but needed a comeback effort late in the second 20 minutes.
Smith and Olivier are the team leaders in points. Smith comes in with an average of 11.7 ppg, and Olivier with a 10.7 ppg average. As a team, the Panthers only average 60.7 ppg through their 12 contests played so far. Smith is the team leader in assists with 29, seven of which he added against Tennessee State. Blanford and Olivier lead the team in rebounding, averaging 5.8 and 5.7 rpg, respectively.
Eastern Illinois may have been able to pull out of its tailspin six-game losing streak, but only averaging 60.7 ppg this season won't get it done against a talented Eastern Kentucky squad averaging 78.3 ppg.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 77, Eastern Illinois 66
01/02 10:37:56 ET