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Tennessee-Martin (7-17) at Eastern Illinois (8-14)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 6, 8 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,400) -- Charleston, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: UT Martin 5-6, Eastern Illinois 5-6. Away Record: UT Martin 2-11, Eastern Illinois 3-8. Neutral Record: UT Martin 0-0, Eastern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: UT Martin 2-7, Eastern Illinois 5-5. Series Record: Eastern Illinois leads, 19-18.

GAME NOTES: The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks have lost two games in a row, and will look to put an end to their skid as they travel to face the Eastern Illinois Panthers in Ohio Valley Conference action at Lantz Arena.

Having lost the last two games and three of its last four, UT Martin is trying to recover from a 2-7 conference record that has the team in the basement of the OVC West Division standings. The Skyhawks are coming off an 89-66 blowout loss at the hands of Eastern Kentucky.

Eastern Illinois lost a non-conference game against Cleveland State on Jan. 28, but rebounded in the team's most recent outing with a 76-70 victory over SIU-Edwardsville Saturday. At 5-5 in the OVC West, EIU is three and a half games back of Murray State for the conference lead.

The Panthers hold a very slight advantage in the all-time series with UT Martin, 19-18, which was made closer by a Skyhawks' victory back on Jan. 23 of this year. EIU is 12-6 against UT Martin in Charleston.

Eastern Kentucky jumped way out ahead of UT Martin in last Thursday's one- sided Colonels' victory, as the Skyhawks found themselves down 42-30 at the half. The lead only got larger for EKU, which netted another 47 points in the second period. Myles Taylor led the way for the Skyhawks with 17 points and five rebounds, while Dee Oldham netted 16 points in the loss. UT Martin shot 44.7 percent from the floor in the game.

Taylor and Terence Smith have been the two go-to players for UT Martin this season in terms of scoring. Taylor, who has played in just 21 games compared to all 24 for Smith, leads the squad with a 15.3 ppg average, while Smith follows at 14.5 ppg. With a 6.6 rpg average, Taylor is the top rebounder on the team this season, and Smith's 76 assists on the year is second only to Marshun Newell's 84. The Colonels give up an average of over 80 ppg and score 73.1 ppg themselves.

SIU Edwardsville took a five-point lead against Eastern Illinois at the half of Saturday's matchup, but the Panthers didn't allow the Cougars to hold onto that lead for the remainder of the contest. Thanks to 56-percent shooting in the second stanza, the Panthers came back for the win. Sherman Blanford paced EIU with 24 points and 13 rebounds, while Reggie Smith chipped in 17 and Chris Olivier added 12.

Smith leads the Panthers this season in scoring average with 13.4 ppg and a team-best 63 total assists. Blanford isn't too far behind at 12 ppg, but the big man sports a team-leading 7 rpg average with a team high-tying 18 blocked shots. Olivier rounds out the double-digit scorers with 10.7 ppg.

UT Martin was able to take the first matchup between the programs this season on its home court, though Eastern Illinois was in the midst of a tailspin at the time. The Panthers haven't solved their woes entirely though, as they still average just 65.5 ppg. Still, at home, EIU should be able to use the momentum of a recent win to fuel this battle.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Illinois 72, Tennessee-Martin 67

02/06 10:15:53 ET

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