Morehead State (12-12) at Eastern Illinois (9-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 4th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,300) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: Local. Home Record: MSU 7-3, EIU 6-5. Away Record: MSU 3-8, EIU 3-8. Neutral Record: MSU 2-1, EIU 0-0. Conference Record: MSU 5-5, EIU 2-8. Series Record: EIU leads, 22-9.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Illinois Panthers will once again try to get back into the win column tonight, as they are set to host Ohio Valley Conference rival Morehead State at Lantz Arena.
The Eagles saw a season-high three-game win streak come to an end with a 61-53 final at SIU Edwardsville on Thursday night, evening their 2011-12 slate at 12-12 in the process. MSU has been up and down all season, but the loss of Kenneth Faried to the NBA shoulders plenty of the blame. Compounding that departure has been the knee injury of senior and top-scorer Terrance Hill, who played 15 games this season before being lost for the remainder of the year. Still, the Eagles own a 5-5 in the OVC, which is just two games behind Southeast Missouri State for second place in the rankings.
EIU has lost seven consecutive decisions, including four straight at home, and enters tonight's meeting with a 9-13 overall record. The string of losses has come in the midst of a scoring drought during which the Panthers have netted less than 60 points five times, with three of those occasions resulting in less than a 50-point output. One such instance occurred on Thursday night, when the Panthers dropped a 47-43 final against Eastern Kentucky. It was the second-fewest points scored by EIU this season since recording just 40 points against nationally-ranked Murray State back on December 30th, and the squad fell to 2-8 in conference action.
EIU owns a 22-9 advantage in terms of the all-time series between the two foes.
The Eagles shot just 35.0 percent from the floor during the eight-point loss to SIUED, a mark that included a meager 4-of-20 showing from long range. The Eagles trailed by a 24-19 deficit heading into the break, and trailed by as many as 13 with just over 10 minutes left, but managed to trim the SIUED advantage to three points on three separate occasions during the final four minutes of the contest. However, a trey from the Cougars' Kris Davis with 1:06 left to play put the contest out of reach once and for all. Milton Chavis scored 16 points to lead the way for MSU, while Drew Kelly finished with 10 points and Kahlil Owens pulled down a game-high 10 boards.
The Eagles have played solid basketball at the defensive end of the court this season, limiting their adversaries to just 63.1 points per game on a 44.5 percent shooting clip. MSU has also forced an outstanding 383 turnovers through 24 games (an average of 16.0 per contest), and the squad owns a slight 31.7 - 29.2 rebounding advantage over the opposition as well. Offense has been a different story altogether, as the Eagles average just 63.2 ppg and are shooting 42.5 percent from the field as a team. Still, the Eagles have had minor success from beyond the arc (36.1 percent) to go with a 73.8 percent conversion rate at the charity stripe, and the club owns a pair of players with a double-digit scoring average. Hill still leads all scorers despite his absence over the past nine games with a 13.3 ppg tally, while Ty Proffitt checks in at 10.0 ppg. Kelly stands at the cusp of a double figure average as well, and has been responsible for a solid 9.8 ppg.
The Panthers have been a similar bunch, netting 65.6 ppg but allowing the opposition to tally 68.5 points per contest. The Panthers have hit just 43.2 percent of their attempts from the field up to this point, but success at the foul line (75.7 percent) has kept the team in contests that would have otherwise been well out of reach. Jeremy Granger leads EIU in scoring this season, notching 15.2 ppg to go with a team-best 76 assists. He is joined in double figures by Alfonzo McKinnie, who has been responsible for 10.7 points as well as a team-leading 7.5 rebounds per game. Joey Miller has been a consistent source of output for the Panthers as well, with his 9.9 ppg contribution.
In their last outing, however, the Panthers hit just 39.0 percent of their attempts from the floor in a four-point loss to EKU, a mark that included just 4-of-14 from three-point range. The Panthers got to the foul line just six times during the meeting, making good on five of those attempts, and were guilty of a game-high 17 turnovers that led to 18 EKU points. Granger tallied 12 points during the meeting, leading the way for EIU.
Give a slight nod to MSU in this one. EIU has been playing desperate lately, and that is not the attitude to bring against a team that puts as much pressure on a team like the Eagles do. Look for MSU to force quite a few miscues in this one, but the Panthers can keep things close if they get to the line enou WAS
3:00 057 VAN
7:00 059 LOS
7:00 061 FLA
7:00 063 BUF
7:00 065 TOR
8:00 067 SJS
8:00 069 STL
8:00 071 MIN
10:00 073 DET
02/04 10:46:25 ET