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Eastern Illinois (6-12) at Tennessee-Martin (6-15)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 23, 8 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Skyhawk Arena (5,000) -- Martin, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: EIU 4-5, UTM 4-5. Away Record: EIU 2-7, UTM 2-10. Neutral Record: EIU 0-0, UTM 0-0. Conference Record: EIU 3-4, UTM 1-5. Series Record: Eastern Illinois leads, 19-17.

GAME NOTES: The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will begin a two-game homestand at Skyhawk Arena on Thursday night, as they play host to the Eastern Illinois Panthers in an Ohio Valley Conference showdown.

EIU has struggled this season, as it sits with just a 6-12 overall record, but it has turned things around of late with wins in two of its last three games to improve to 3-4 in the OVC. The Panthers most recently hosted Austin Peay on Saturday and escaped with a 67-64 victory.

UTM has been even worse off than EIU on the campaign at 6-15, and it has shown very few signs of turning things around with losses in seven of its past eight games. The Skyhawks dropped an 85-75 decision at Morehead State on Saturday afternoon to fall to 1-5 in conference action.

The Panthers swept the two-game series versus the Skyhawks last season by a combined 41 points to take a 19-17 lead all time.

The Panthers endured a back-and-forth contest with Austin Peay their last time out until Luke Piotrowski dunked home the game-winning bucket with 2:49 left. They shot a stellar 53.1 percent from the field in the triumph and were paced by the efforts of Reggie Smith, who shot 6-of-10 from the field for 15 points while also dishing out five assists. Piotrowski netted 12 points, Sherman Blanford put up 11 points and eight rebounds and Dylan Chatman and Chris Olivier scored nine points apiece.

On the season, EIU has underperformed on both ends of the court, shooting just 42 percent from the field for 63.6 ppg while allowing 71.4 ppg on 46 percent shooting. It also lives in the red in terms of rebounding (-1.8) and turnover (-1.4) margins and shoots 3-pointers at less than 30 percent. Smith shoots just 39.3 percent from the floor but still leads the team in scoring (13.3 ppg), assists (49) and steals (24). Blanford (11.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Olivier (9.2 ppg) also bring regular contributions to the table.

The Skyhawks trailed Morehead State by as many as 15 points in the second half of their most recent contest, and while they were able to climb back to make it just a one-possession game late they could never overtake the lead. They were able to keep the tilt close by shooting an outstanding 25-of-27 from the free-throw line, but they were only 38.9 percent from the field and committed 18 turnovers. Mike Liabo shined off the bench with a career-high 32 points, shooting 10-of-18 from the floor (6-of-12 from 3-point range) and 6-of-7 from the line. Myles Taylor and Marshun Newell netted 13 points apiece, while Terence Smith chipped in 10 points.

Scoring points in rarely the issue for UTM, as it pours in 72.5 ppg, but unfortunately its defense is one of the worst in the nation, allowing 80.3 ppg on a lofty 51.1 percent field goal shooting. Taylor paces the squad in both scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg) while making field goals at greater than 50 percent efficiency. Smith (14.3 ppg) and Liabo (13.6 ppg) have combined to drain 72 3-pointers, while Newell rounds out the balanced squad with 11.4 ppg.

EIU hasn't performed very well on the road this season (2-7), but facing off against a UTM squad that hasn't done much right of late, it should be able to keep its solid run going.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Illinois 77, Tennessee-Martin 71

01/23 10:19:22 ET

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Scoreboard
NBA
Final
CLE 110
GSW 99
1st
PHO 17
OKC 5
 
Final
KNST 53
NKENTUCKY 78
 
Final
CITA 74
ETST 73
 
Final
GWEBB 91
CSOU 81
 
Final
VMI 82
CHAT 86
 
Final
BRY 77
CCST 69
 
Final
PBY 80
CCAR 69
 
Final
DREX 44
DEL 58
 
Final
UNCA 71
HIGH 75
 
Final
TEMPL 66
HOU 54
Final
EKENT 63
JVST 57
 
Final
WRST 58
UWMIL 61
 
Final
MSU 90
MINN 96
Final
RFLSH 63
MNTER 60
 
Final
OSU 81
NEB 57
Final
MAST 67
NEOM 73
 
Final
ELON 72
NE 65
 
Final
LIB 80
RAD 69
 
Final
FD 85
SHU 90
 
Final
UNCG 81
SAMF 67
 
Final
LIU 69
Terriers 74
 
Final
TENN 65
VANDY 73
Final
RMU 91
WAGN 59
 
Final
FUR 53
WCU 49
 
Final
IUPUI 71
WILL 66
 
Final
CAMP 65
WINT 50
 
Final
MERC 72
WOFF 76
 
Final
APP 58
GSOUT 77
 
Final
UNT 81
CHAR 65
 
Final
MURST 65
EILL 57
 
Final
MARS 87
FIU 69
 
Final
WKENT 71
FATL 68
 
Final
ILLCH 67
UWGB 72
 
Final
ORU 74
NDST 58
 
Final
NDAK 75
NARZ 85
 
Final
RICE 54
ODU 63
 
Final
MON 60
RIDE 63
 
Final
PEAY 64
SIUE 61
 
Final
LATU 77
UTEP 60
Final
SMISS 70
TXSA 66
Final
TENST 52
TENNM 69
 
Final
CHIST 74
GRCN 70
 
Final
UMKC 69
WLVRN 50
 
Final
SALA 57
LAMON 75
 
Final
ARKST 81
TXARL 80
 
Final
ARKLR 92
UGST 83
 
Final
TXST 67
TROY 61
 
2nd
COL 54
ARZ 82
 
2nd
PURD 78
RUTG 64
 
2nd
MEM 57
SMU 63
 
Final
NCOL 77
SUTAH 64
 
2nd
MORE 80
TENT 64
 
Final
EWASH 92
MNTST 68
 
Half
PORT 41
BYU 33
 
Half
CSNO 35
CSFU 39
 
Half
IDAHO 24
MONT 33
 
2nd
SCU 19
PAC 22
 
Half
UCSB 30
UCD 30
 
2nd
CPSL 30
UCI 42
 
1st
UTAH 17
ARST 7
 
11:00pm Tonight
STAN
ORST
11:00pm Tonight
GONZ
SDU
11:00pm Tonight
USF
GAELS
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
LBSU
 
Final
NYR 4
ARI 3
Final
CLB 2
MON 5
Final
BUF 6
VAN 3
Final
FLA 0
CHI 3
Final
TOR 3
PHI 2
Final
WIN 1
STL 2
3rd
NAS 2
MIN 3
 
1st
SJS 1
DET 0
 
1st
LOS 0
OTT 0