Tennessee-Martin (4-15) at Eastern Illinois (4-16)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,400) -- Charleston, Illinois.
Television: None. Home Record: Tennessee-Martin 4-5. EIU 1-7. Away Record:
Tennessee-Martin 0-10, EIU 1-9. Neutral Record: Tennessee-Martin 0-0, EIU 2-0.
Conference Record: Tennessee-Martin 1-6, EIU 1-6. Series Record: Tied, 17-17.
GAMES NOTES: Fresh off their first win in nearly two months the Eastern
Illinois Panthers are set to host the Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks in a battle of
Ohio Valley Conference foes at Lantz Arena.
With an 88-74 loss to Morehead State in their last outing, the Skyhawks have
now lost three straight contests and 10 of their last 11. On the season the
Skyhawks are just 4-15 overall with just a single win in seven tries against
conference foes. Heading on the road has been a perilous venture for the
Skyhawks who have failed to earn a win in all 10 of their trips off campus.
Tennessee-Martin travels to take on SIU Edwardsville next.
With a 77-67 victory on the road over Austin Peay last Saturday, the Panthers
got into the win column for the first time since a 64-44 victory over Houston
Baptist on Nov. 24. In the time between the Panthers had lost 12 straight
contests. Eastern Illinois is just 4-16 overall this season. Like the
Skyhawks, the Panthers have also managed just a single win in seven chances
against OVC competition. The team has also struggled at home with an ugly 1-7
mark. Up next the Panthers host SE Missouri State.
Last season Eastern Illinois earned a series sweep to avenge losing both
contests in the previous season to Tennessee-Martin.
Despite 10 3-pointers and outscoring Morehead State 28-13 from the free-throw
line, Tennessee-Martin didn't shoot well enough from the floor overall to top
Morehead State. The Skyhawks connected on 34 percent of their field goal
attempts and were outscored 36-16 on points in the paint.
While not an overly effective offensive squad, Tennesse-Martin hasn't been the
worst scoring squad in the conference. The Skyhawks are averaging 65.7 points
per game, despite shooting a conference-worst 38.3 percent from the field.
Myles Taylor (16.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg) has been doing all he can to carry the
Skyhawks, ranking in the top 10 in the OVC in both scoring and rebounding.
Mike Liabo (12.7 ppg) is the only other player averaging in double figures
but, his 35.4 field-goal percentage needs work.
Eastern Illinois ran out to a 37-25 lead at halftime and then held on down the
stretch to top Austin Peay. The Panthers connected on 54.2 percent of their
shots in the first 20 minutes. Despite cooling to 40.7 percent in the second
half, the Panthers made good on 16-of-18 shots from the free-throw line to
secure the victory.
As a team the Panthers are scoring an OVC worst 57.3 points per game, while
shooting at a 42.6 percent clip. Part of the problem is that Eastern Illinois
doesn't create enough opportunities for itself as it ranks dead last in the
conference in possessions per 40 minutes (60.9). Defensively speaking the
Panthers hold their own, surrendering 64.7 points per game. Josh Piper (10.6
ppg, 4.1 rpg) and Sherman Blanford (10.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg) are the only consistent
scorers on the squad.
It took an uncharacteristically strong first half on the offensive end for
Eastern Illinois to end its losing streak. It's unlikely they will be able to
replicate that even against Tennessee-Martin.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Tennessee-Martin 66, Eastern Illinois 64
01/24 10:36:05 ET