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DATE & TIME: Friday, November 29, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: State Farm Center (16,618) -- Champaign, Illinois. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: IPFW 2-0, Illinois 5-0. Away Record: IPFW 2-2, Illinois 1-0. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: IPFW 0-0, Illinois 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The unbeaten Illinois Fighting Illini welcome the IUPU-Ft Wayne Mastodons to the State Farm Center for a non-league matchup.
IPFW enters the contest with a 6-2 record, and both losses came by a single point. The Mastodons are seeking a sixth straight victory after winning at Eastern Illinois on Wednesday, 71-65.
Illinois improved to a perfect 6-0 with Tuesday's 61-59 triumph at UNLV in its road opener. The Fighting Illini are aiming for their third consecutive 7-0 start, as well as their 26th straight win in the month of November.
This bout marks the first meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.
IPFW allowed Eastern Illinois to shoot 51.1 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from the perimeter in Wednesday's matchup. However, the Mastodons held the Panthers scoreless for a key four-and-a-half-minute stretch in the second half and capitalized with a 12-0 spurt. The Mastodons also utilized their size, as they finished with a huge 33-16 rebounding advantage for the game, including a 14-3 edge on the offensive glass. Steve Forbes led the way with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Michael Kibiloski and Joe Edwards scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. On the season, Luis Jacobo is averaging a team- best 14.6 points to pace four players in double figures for IPFW.
The Mastodons will have to earn their stripes on the boards against an Illinois squad that boasts a +12.3 rebounding margin on the young season, second-best in the Big Ten Conference. The Illini rank fifth in the nation in offensive rebound percentage, having collected 44.2 percent of their misses. Defensively, they have held foes to 57.3 ppg and 35.3-percent shooting from the floor, as no opponent has managed to eclipse 63 points or shoot better than 40 percent from the floor against Illinois. UNLV was leading by six with six minutes remaining in Tuesday's contest, but the Illini closed the game on a 10-2 run and held the Rebels scoreless on their home floor over the final 4:16. Rayvonte Rice led all scorers with 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds and four steals. The junior transfer has scored in double figures in each of his first six games, the first Illini newcomer to do so since Kiwane Garris in 1993-94.
Rebounding has helped propel both of these teams to solid starts. But the Illini have been the better overall team, and they have a player in Rice who figures to present plenty of matchup problems for the Mastodons.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Illinois 72, IPFW 61
11/29 10:54:55 ET
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