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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,240) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: BTDN. Home Record: EIU 1-0, Purdue 3-0. Away Record: EIU 1-1, Purdue 0-0. Neutral Record: EIU 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Conference Record: EIU 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: Purdue leads, 4-0.
GAMES NOTES: With their sights set on a 4-0 start to the year the Purdue Boilermakers welcome the Eastern Illinois Panthers to Mackey Arena for a non- conference tilt on Wednesday night.
Eastern Illinois will be trying to build off of an 86-66 triumph over Illinois-Chicago on Wednesday. The victory was the second straight for the Panthers and the first on the road. In 15 road tests last year the Panthers managed just four victories, with none coming in non-league play.
It wasn't easy but Purdue managed to hold on for an 81-77 victory over Rider on Sunday for its third win in as many games to open the year. The Boilermakers have spent all of those contests at home.
Purdue has never lost in four meetings with Eastern Illinois. The Boilermakers won 87-67 during the last matchup in 2005 and have had an average margin of victory of 22.3 ppg in the four triumphs.
The Panthers erupted from 3-point range in their victory over UIC, hitting 9- of-14 attempts from beyond the arc. They also shot well overall, with 57.1 percent of their field goal tries finding the bottom of the net. Reggie Smith netted a game-high 23 points and also handed out six assists in the win.
The type of offensive success the Panthers had against UIC has not been the norm for them. Although they are netting a respectable 69.3 points per game the Panthers have only connected on 42.7 percent of their field goal tries. Smith (21.0 ppg, 3.0 apg) missed the Panthers' second game of the season but in the two contests he has been on the floor he has been the best offensive weapon. Smith connected on 7-of-13 shots from the field against UIC to bounce back from a 4-of-16 effort against Northwestern in the opener. Smith's efforts are desperately needed for EUI, which has no other player averaging in double figures, though eight are putting in at least five per game. Dennis Green (9.7 ppg) and Alex Austin (9.0 ppg) are the next best options.
Purdue was outscored both from beyond the arc (21-9) and the free-throw line (24-16) in its win over Rider, yet the Boilermakers were able to hold on for a win thanks to a 50.8 percent shooting performance overall. Ronnie Johnson scored 16 points to lead four players in double figures in the four-point victory.
Efficient offense has been the key for the Boilermakers during their 3-0 start. Purdue is shooting at a 51 percent clip and scoring 89 points per game while ranking among the top 50 teams in the country in assists (16.3 pg). Purdue is also limiting opponents to just 39.7 percent shooting, though their defensive scoring average (75.3 ppg) still needs work. Johnson (15.0 ppg, 3.7 apg) is netting 60.7 percent of his attempts from the field on the year, while leading the team in assists. Terone Johnson (13.7 ppg) is the only other player on the team averaging in double figures. Errick Peck (9.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) anchors the frontcourt, while Rapheal Davis (8.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Jay Simpson (8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg) are providing scoring and rebounding off the bench.
If Eastern Illinois can recapture the success it had from beyond the arc against UIC, it can give itself a chance to pull off an upset.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 76, Eastern Illinois 61
11/20 10:36:48 ET