Southeast Missouri State (12-12) at Eastern Illinois (9-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 3 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,400) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: WEIU. Home Record: SE Missouri State 6-3, Eastern Illinois 6-6. Away Record: SE Missouri State 3-9, Eastern Illinois 3-8. Neutral Record: SE Missouri State 3-0, Eastern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: SE Missouri State 3-7, Eastern Illinois 6-5. Series Record: SE Missouri State leads, 24-22.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Illinois Panthers have won two games in a row for just the second time all season, and will try for their first three-game win streak as they host the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks in Ohio Valley Conference action at Lantz Arena.
Southeast Missouri State has lost two games in a row, and three of its last four. The Redhawks' most recent contest, a 93-88 overtime defeat at the hands of SIU-Edwardsville, set them back to 3-7 in OVC East Division play, which is five games behind leader Murray State.
Eastern Illinois is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with two straight wins and victories in three of the team's last four outings. The Panthers have moved into second place in the OVC East at 6-5 behind Murray State's 8-2 conference record.
SEMO leads the all-time series with Eastern Illinois, 24-22. The Redhawks have won six of the last eight meetings between the programs, but the Panthers took the most recent contest earlier this season, 77-74.
SEMO and SIU-Edwardsville went into the half knotted, 26-26, and at the end of the second period, 79-79. Tyler Stone led the way for the Redhawks with 37 points on 15-of-19 shooting from the floor, adding eight rebounds to his stat line. Josh Langford chipped in 13, Jarekious Bradley added 12 and Lucas Nutt notched a double-double with 10 points and 10 assists in the loss.
Bradley still stands atop the team's season scoring list at 20.4 ppg, but Stone's recent success has him just under a point per game down to Bradley's average, at 19.1 ppg. Atone is shooting 52.8 percent from the floor this season, and adds a team-best 9 rpg average to his stat totals. Nutt checks in as the team leader in assists with 140 on the year. Bradley has the most steals on the squad with 26, and Stone leads in blocked shots with 28.
Eastern Illinois found itself down by 10 points at halftime to UT Martin Thursday night, but the Panthers exploded offensively in the second half on 67.9 percent shooting from the floor, and went 14-of-18 from the free-throw line in the period. Sherman Blanford netted a team-high 30 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor, adding eight rebounds to his line. Dylan Chatman chipped in 17 points and nine boards, and both Alex Austin and Josh Piper netted 11 points.
Reggie Smith, who didn't play Thursday night for the Panthers, still leads the team in scoring this season with 13.4 ppg with a team-best 63 assists and 29 steals. Blanford is second in scoring at 12.8 ppg, and sports a team-high 7 rpg average with 19 blocked shots. Chris Olivier is just under a double-digit point average with 9.9 ppg on 46.8 percent shooting from the floor.
Eastern Illinois is picking a good time in the season to come alive. The Panthers have won three of their last four to get them in second place in the OVC East. With a win over SEMO already this season on the road, playing the Redhawks again at home should be a bit easier.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Illinois 73, SE Missouri State 64
02/08 10:15:41 ET