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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 16, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,400) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: Racer TV Network. Home Record: Murray State 8-1, Eastern Illinois 3-4. Away Record: Murray State 1-6, Eastern Illinois 2-7. Neutral Record: Murray State 0-0, Eastern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Murray State 4-0, Eastern Illinois 2-3. Series Record: Murray State leads, 38-10.
GAME NOTES: The Murray State Racers look to extend a four-game conference win streak as they travel to face the Eastern Illinois Panthers in Ohio Valley Conference action at Lantz Arena.
Murray State has a four-game win streak going - all in OVC play - and will face the reeling Panthers who are 5-11 this season. The Racers are coming off an 89-67 trouncing of Austin Peay.
Eastern Illinois broke up its three-game losing streak with a victory at Jacksonville State, 56-48, Saturday night. The Panthers have only won two games in their last 11 contests, yet find themselves 2-3 in conference action.
Murray State has a pretty good handle on the all-time series with Eastern Illinois, 38-10, though the teams split the season series a year ago.
Murray State had six players score in the double digits Saturday night as the Racers routed Austin Peay. Jeffery Moss scored a team-high 20 points on 8- of-12 shooting from the floor, including 4-of-5 from 3-point distance. Moss grabbed six rebounds and dished out two assists in the lopsided victory. Cameron Payne added 15 points and a team-best eight assists in 32 minutes of action. The Racers shot 47.6 percent from the field in the game.
Payne leads the team in scoring this season with a solid 15 ppg, and is the team's top passer with 90 total assists. He also has a team-high 25 steals. Forward Jarvis Williams has been a beast down low, netting 14.1 ppg and grabbing a team-high 10.5 rpg. He's recorded 26 blocked shots and shoots an incredible 61.4 percent from the floor. The Racers average 73.8 ppg on 46 percent shooting.
Eastern Illinois was ahead of Jacksonville State 51-48 with 34 seconds remaining, and received some clutch free-throw shooting to seal the OVC win. Chris Olivier was the only Panther to score in double figures, netting 15 on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor. Olivier added four rebounds but turned the ball over a team-high four times. Overall, the Panthers shot 50 percent from the floor, but hit just 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
Reggie Smith, who had nine points in the team's win over Jacksonville State, is EIU's top scorer this year with 12.1 ppg and a team-best 44 assists and 21 steals. Sherman Blanford is second in scoring with a 10.8 ppg average, and tops the roster at 5.9 rpg. Blanford connects on 49.2 percent of his shots from the floor. Olivier is third in scoring at 10.3 ppg.
Murray State has exploded out of the gate in conference play this season, and should have no trouble handling the Panthers, who lack a true scoring threat.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Murray State 76, Eastern Illinois 65
01/16 11:20:32 ET
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