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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lantz Arena (5,300) -- Charleston, Ill. Television: None. Home Record: Tennessee State 1-3, Eastern Illinois 2-2. Away Record: Tennessee State 0-7, Eastern Illinois 1-6. Neutral Record: Tennessee State 0-2, Eastern Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Tennessee State 0-0, Eastern Illinois 0-0. Series Record: Tennessee State leads, 26-20.
GAME NOTES: Tennessee State and Eastern Illinois look to turn their seasons around when the Ohio Valley Conference rivals square off Saturday in the conference opener for both clubs.
Tennessee State's only win in 13 games this season came against Fisk University on Dec. 15. All but four of its losses have come by double digits, including a 79-64 home loss to Miami-Ohio last Saturday.
In the latest loss, Patrick Miller scored a game-high 26 points to go with six assists. Jamonte Graham put up 12 points and Kennedy Eubanks chipped in 11 with nine rebounds, but the Tigers couldn't overcome Miami-Ohio's 56.5 percent shooting performance.
M.J. Rhett is nearly averaging a double-double with 10.3 ppg and 9.5 rpg, while Miller leads all OVC players with 20.9 ppg, which is a staggering number considering the Tigers are only putting up 66.4 per game. The Panthers are scoring even less at a 59.8 clip. They are mired in a losing streak that reached six games with last Saturday's 86-65 loss at IPFW.
IPFW raced out to a 54-39 halftime lead behind a 62.5-percent shooting effort from the floor in the first half, including a 10-of-15 showing from behind the arc, and the Panthers never caught up despite having four players score in double figures. Alex Austin netted 16 points while Reggie Smith added 10 but needed 14 shots to do so. Smith leads the team with 11.9 ppg, while Austin and Sherman Blanford are each contributing 9.5 ppg to the offense. The Panthers have been getting outscored by 19.2 ppg during their recent skid and might be happy to see a familiar opponent on the other bench.
Eastern Illinois won the last meeting between the teams, though Tennessee State owns a 26-20 lead in the all-time series.
In a battle of futility, the edge goes to the home team, especially since the Tigers have yet to win away from Nashville this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Illinois 70, Tennessee State 65
12/28 10:42:04 ET
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