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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 27, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,300) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 2-0, EIU 2-0. Away Record: IPFW 1-2, EIU 1-2. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, EIU 0-0. Conference Record: IPFW 0-0, EIU 0-0. Series Record: IUPU-Ft Wayne leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Mastodons of IUPU-Ft Wayne try to extend their win streak to five games tonight, as they clash with the Eastern Illinois Panthers at Lantz Arena.
Since losing by a single point to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (72-71) back on Nov. 15, the Mastodons have ripped off four straight victories. The latest triumph came on Sunday in a 76-66 triumph over Kennesaw State on the road.
As for the Panthers, they were blown out by Purdue on the road a week ago, 83-55, snapping a brief two-game win streak in the process, but the team bounced back with an 89-67 victory versus Roosevelt on Saturday. It was the third win in four games for EIU.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, IUPU-Ft Wayne owns a 2-1 advantage over the Panthers.
Against Kennesaw State, the Mastodons shot a mere 3-of-11 (.273) behind the 3- point line, but the team made up for it with 25-of-32 accuracy at the free- throw line, as well as a defensive effort that limited the hosts to 38.6 percent shooting from the floor. Pierre Bland led all scorers with 23 points, grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists as well, while Joe Reed and Luis Jacobo pitched in with 16 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench.
Jacobo, a reserve in all four of the games in which he has appeared, is out in front for the Mastodons when it comes to scoring, putting up 16.3 ppg. Reed (11.6 ppg), Steve Forbes (11.0 ppg) and Bland (10.6 ppg) also play key roles for IPFW as the group generates close to 80 points per contest. Bland, a 57.8 percent shooter over seven games, is also first on the assists list with 34 dishes.
In a game that featured three ties and seven lead changes, the Panthers managed to move out to a seven-point lead at intermission, even though they allowed Roosevelt to shoot 65.0 percent from the floor through the first 20 minutes. In the second half, it was EIU with 65.5 percent accuracy, allowing the hosts to grab the 22-point win. Alex Austin led the Panthers with 16 points, Keenan Anderson pitched in with 13 off the bench and Sherman Blanford 10 points, to go along with seven rebounds.
Although he didn't score in double figures in the latest outing, Reggie Smith is still the only player on Eastern Illinois to be putting up double digits on the average with his 15.5 ppg. However, Smith is shooting just 37.0 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent beyond the arc. As a group, the Panthers are connecting on only 29.9 percent from 3-point range, the team also having some occasional issues at the free-throw line (.651) as well.
Balanced scoring may work for some programs, but in the case of the Panthers they probably need some more top-flight performers who can come up big from one night to the next. If that's not the case tonight, expect to see the Mastodons make things interesting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Ft Wayne 71, Eastern Illinois 67
11/27 10:39:45 ET