Eastern Illinois (12-16) at Eastern Kentucky (15-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 25th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McBrayer Arena (6,500) -- Richmond, Kentucky. Television: None. Home Record: EIU 7-7, EKU 10-3. Away Record: EIU 5-9, EKU 4-11. Neutral Record: EIU 0-0, EKU 1-1. Conference Record: EIU 5-10, EKU 6-9. Series Record: EKU leads, 19-13.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Ohio Valley Conference foes wrap up the regular season tonight in Richmond, when the Eastern Kentucky Colonels play host to the Panthers of Eastern Illinois at McBrayer Arena, in a play-in game for the last slot in the OVC Tournament.
Eastern Illinois has been away from the hardwood for a week, and the squad had a three-game win streak snapped in a 67-63 setback against Illinois-Chicago last Saturday. The loss dropped the Panthers to just 12-16 overall this season, and left the club with a meager 5-10 mark on its league slate.
As for Eastern Kentucky, the Colonels have hit a rough patch of their own as of late, dropping three out of their last five en route to an even 15-15 overall ledger. The Colonels suffered a hard-fought 63-58 loss to SIUE on Thursday night, which dropped the squad to 6-9 in OVC action.
EKU leads, 19-13, in terms of the all-time series between the two programs.
EIU's 39-point output against Morehead State was the club's lowest point total of the season, not a surprising number considering the Panthers shot just 34.0 percent from the floor in the 36-point setback. The Panthers were shut down on the glass to the tune of a 40-20 rebounding differential as well, and the squad was guilty of a game-high 21 miscues. Jeremy Granger scored 16 points to pace the Panthers, representing the lone player to achieve double figures for EIU. The Panthers average 66.0 points per game up to this point, a mark that could almost pass for respectable if not for the fact that the club also yields 67.5 ppg to the opposition. EIU owns an underwhelming 43.6 team- shooting percentage, but the Panthers have found success at the charity stripe to the tune of a 75.5 percent conversion rate. Granger currently owns a 15.6 ppg tally, a mark good enough to lead the team, and he has also been responsible for a team-best 86 assists. Jeremy Miller follows, chipping in 10.6 ppg, while Alfonzo McKinnie rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 10.2 points to go with a team-high 7.2 rebounds per contest.
The Colonels pulled to within three points with eight seconds remaining against SIUE, but the Cougars got a pair of free throws from Jerome Jones on their ensuing possession to put an end to a comeback bid. EKU was ultimately unable to recover from its lowest shooting percentage of the season, as the squad shot at a meager 30.4 percent clip that included just 3-of-27 from beyond the arc. The Colonels also converted a lackluster 13-of-19 at the foul line, and were outrebounded by a 44-38 margin. Jaron Jones scored 17 points and collected 14 rebounds to pace EKU in the losing effort, while Joshua Jones and Eric Stutz logged 10 points apiece. The Colonels even overall ledger this season comes as little surprise given the point differential the squad shares with their adversaries (65.7 ppg - 65.6 ppg). EKU owns an underwhelming 43.1 team shooting percentage on the year, while it has allowed the opposition to connect on 45.5 percent of its attempts from the field. Still, the Colonels have forced 408 turnovers up to this point, but do trail on the boards by a 29.3 - 33.4 rpg margin. Jaron Jones leads the way for EKU in scoring this season, tallying 16.5 ppg to go with 4.4 rpg, a mark good enough for second honors on the club. Joshua Jones checks in with a respectable 10.2 ppg contribution, representing the only other EKU player with a double figure scoring average.
Give EKU the homecourt nod in this one, although the contest should be close. Neither team has been the model of consistency this season, and both have had their struggles lately, but with a ticket to the OVC Tournament on the line, this should be anything but a blowout.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Kentucky 68, Eastern Illinois 64
02/25 10:45:41 ET