Cleveland State (13-9) at Eastern Illinois (7-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 28, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,300) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: CSU 9-2, EIU 4-5. Away Record: CSU 4-7, EIU 3-8. Neutral Record: CSU 0-0, EIU 0-0. Conference Record: CSU 5-3, EIU 4-5. Series Record: Cleveland State leads, 19-9.
GAME NOTES: A couple of teams take a break from their respective conference schedules tonight, as the Cleveland State Vikings pay a visit to the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Lantz Arena.
Cleveland State, which competes in the Horizon League, is coming off a 69-50 win over the Crusaders of Valparaiso on Saturday, marking the second straight victory and the third in the last four outings for the program.
As for the Panthers, members of the Ohio Valley Conference, they tangled with Southeast Missouri State three days ago and pulled out a 77-74 win, continuing a trend of alternating wins and losses over the course of the last seven outings.
The most recent meeting between these two teams took place almost 20 years ago, with the Vikings pulling out an 81-75 victory on Valentine's Day, 1994. With that victory, CSU moved to 19-9 in the all-time series. The teams were both members of the Mid-Continent Conference from 1983-1994.
Four starters scored in double figures for the Vikings against Valpo, five overall, as Trey Lewis put up a team-best 17 points, followed by Anton Grady with 13 points to go with 11 rebounds. Bryn Forbes and Marlin Mason both accounted for 12 points and Jon Harris tacked on 11 as he converted 3-of-6 shots behind the 3-point line off the bench. Defensively, CSU limited the visitors to a mere 35.6 percent shooting from the floor.
As one of two players to have started all 22 games for Cleveland State, it only makes sense that Forbes be atop the scoring list with his 15.8 ppg, shooting an impressive 42.3 percent behind the 3-point line where he has converted 55 of his 107 field goals entering the week. Lewis checks in with 14.0 ppg and is first on the unit with 77 assists in as effort to get the rest of his teammates involved in the action.
Considering the Panthers led by as many as 17 points late in the first half, it was disappointing to see the squad hold just a six-point edge at intermission and eventually win by just three points on the road against SEMO. Reggie Smith was responsible for 23 points and six assists, shooting 8-of-16 from the floor off the bench, followed by Dylan Chatman and Chris Olivier with 13 points apiece, the latter also clearing a team-best nine rebounds in a reserve role.
Smith, a starter in all but one of the 18 games in which he has appeared, checks in with a team-best 13.4 ppg currently, accounting for 59 assists as well, but those numbers don't disguise the fact that he is shooting only 24.7 percent beyond the arc. Sherman Blanford (11.3 ppg) handles the action in the paint with his 6.7 rpg, one of only two players averaging more than 3.5 rpg at the moment for EIU.
Displaying a home record of just 4-5 is not all that encouraging for the Panthers, nor is the fact that the squad is being outscored by 7.3 ppg either, but those numbers do bode well for Cleveland State.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cleveland State 75, Eastern Illinois 62
01/28 10:33:11 ET