Eastern Illinois (9-15) at Austin Peay (10-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 13, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Winfield Dunn Center (7,257) -- Clarksville, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Eastern Illinois 6-7, Austin Peay 7-4. Away Record: Eastern Illinois 3-8, Austin Peay 2-9. Neutral Record: Eastern Illinois 0-0, Austin Peay 1-1. Conference Record: Eastern Illinois 6-6, Austin Peay 4-6. Series Record: Austin Peay leads, 24-15.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Illinois Panthers had a two-game win streak snapped in their most recent outing, and they'll look to get back in the win column when they travel to Clarksville for an Ohio Valley Conference matchup with the Austin Peay Governors at the Dunn Center.
Eastern Illinois had a rough start to the season, at one point enduring a six- game losing streak and then losing three in a row following a win over Tennessee State. The Panthers are trying to turn things around, but a 74-68 loss at Southeast Missouri State on Saturday didn't help their cause.
Austin Peay had to ride out a four-game losing streak in January, and has since gone 2-2. The Governors have lost six of their last eight, including a 93-68 blowout at the hands of Belmont Saturday.
Austin Peay has a pretty solid handle on the all-time series with Eastern Illinois, owning a 24-15 record over the Panthers. EIU though, is 2-1 in its last three meetings with Austin Peay, and won an earlier matchup against the Governors this season, 67-64, in Charleston.
Eastern Illinois found itself down by just one point to Southeast Missouri State as the teams broke for the locker rooms at the half. The Redhawks slowly piled on their lead in the second period, eventually downing the Panthers in Charleston. Sherman Blanford scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Panthers, while Reggie Smith tallied 13 points and Alex Austin netted 12 in the loss. Eastern Illinois shot 40.7 percent from the floor.
Smith and Blanford are the top two scorers this season for Eastern Illinois, and the only two to average double-digit point totals. Smith tops the squad with 13.3 ppg, while Blanford checks in at second with 13.1 ppg on 53.5 percent shooting. Smith and Blanford top the squad in other respective categories, too. Smith leads the team with 68 assists and 30 steals on the year, and Blanford pulls down a team-best 7.1 rpg with 19 blocked shots.
Austin Peay and Belmont both shot very well in the first half of their OVC clash Saturday. The Governors connected on 56 percent of their field goal tries in the half, but dropped to 30 percent in the second half, allowing the Bruins to cruise to victory. Chris Horton notched a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Will Triggs wasn't far off the double-double pace with 17 points and nine boards. Ed Dyson chipped in 16 points, and Travis Betran netted 10 in the loss.
Horton leads the Governors in scoring this season with a 14 ppg average. He nearly averages a double-double per contest, bringing in 9.8 rpg, which is a team high, along with his 76 blocked shots. Betran is second in scoring with 13.6 ppg, and Triggs is third at 12.5 ppg. As a team, the Governors are averaging 75 ppg and giving up 77 ppg to their opponents.
Eastern Illinois may have won the first matchup earlier this season, but that was on the Panthers' home court. At home, Austin Peay will certainly have the advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Austin Peay 74, Eastern Illinois 67
02/13 10:20:40 ET