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CONFERENCES COACHING CHANGES TRANSACTIONS GAMING MATCHUP CURRENT ODDS
Eastern Illinois (3-6) at Wright State (5-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 19, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Nutter Center (10,000) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: EIU 2-2, Wright State 4-0. Away Record: EIU 1-4, Wright State 0-7. Neutral Record: EIU 0-0, Wright State 1-0. Conference Record: EIU 0-0, Wright State 0-0. Series Record: EIU leads, 10-8.
GAME NOTES: Both the Eastern Illinois Panthers and Wright State Raiders will try to halt losing streaks on Thursday when they battle at the Nutter Center in non-conference action.
Despite playing at home, the Panthers were run out of their own building in a 66-48 loss to Indiana State on Dec. 7. It was the most recent outing for Eastern Illinois, which has now dropped four straight games. Next up for the team is a visit to IUPU-Fort Wayne before getting its Ohio Valley Conference slate underway.
For Wright State the last four games have also ended in defeat. The most recent setback was especially devastating, as the Raiders fell, by a 59-56 score at Miami-Ohio. They are now just 5-7 overall, though that includes a perfect mark at home (4-0). That is good news considering they are beginning a four-game homestand on Thursday.
JT Yoho score 14 points off the bench to carry Wright State to a 56-44 triumph over Eastern Illinois last year. It was the first meeting between the two programs since 1994. The Panthers still lead the all-time series, 10-8.
A miserable offensive performance ended in Eastern Illinois' loss to Indiana State. The Panthers shot just 29.6 percent from the floor, including a 3-of-13 showing from beyond the arc. Sherman Blanford (18 points, 10 rebounds) was the only player to score more than six points.
The 48 points the Panthers scored against the Sycamores wasn't even a season- low. In the previous battle with Western Illinois they actually managed just 32 points. Posting big numbers on offense is obviously not a strength for Eastern Illinois. The team is scoring just 61.1 points per game and shooting a bit better than 40 percent from the field. Making matters even worse the team was without leading scorer Reggie Smith (13.1 ppg) last time out. The 6-foot guard is still listed as questionable with a concussion. Alex Austin (8.8 ppg) and Blanford (8.6 ppg) are tasked with picking up the slack.
There were nine ties and 10 lead changes in Wright State's bout with Miami. The Raiders were clinging to a 55-54 edge with just over a minute to play. However, they went 1-of-3 from the free-throw line in the final 60 seconds, while failing to get off a field goal attempt, to suffer the loss.
AJ Pacher did score a team-high 15 points in the losing effort but also missed the two free throws in the last minute. Pacher (11.7 ppg) is the only player on the roster that is scoring in double figures. That is not to say the Raiders can't score. In fact they are averaging a reasonable 72.3 points per game on 47.8 percent shooting. The scoring load has been evenly distributed, with eight players scoring at least 6.5 points per game. Yoho (9.8 ppg) and Miles Dixon (9.8 ppg) are the best options after Pacher. Jerran Young (8 ppg) made the most of his first start against Miami, with 10 points.
Even with Smith on the floor the Panthers will be hard pressed to top the balanced Raiders. Without him, the task becomes that much more difficult.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wright State 66, Eastern Illinois 58
12/19 11:19:15 ET