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Posted on Wed. Nov. 27, 2013 - 12:31 am EDT

College basketball preview: IPFW at Eastern Illinois

Records: IPFW (5-2), Eastern Illinois (3-2)

When: 8 p.m. today

Where: Lantz Arena, Charleston, Ill.

Radio: 1380 AM

IPFW leaders: Luis Jacobo (16.3 ppg), Joe Reed (6.5 rpg), Pierre Bland (4.8 apg)

Eastern Illinois leaders: Reggie Smith (15.5 ppg), Keenen Anderson (5.4 rpg), Smith (3.0 apg)

Key matchup: For the Mastodons to keep rolling – they’ve won four straight and their two losses were by one point each – they’ll have to put the clamps on Smith, a 6-foot guard. That likely means a head-to-head showdown with Bland. While Smith leads his team in both scoring and assists, Bland, at 6-foot-2, leads in assists and is fourth in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounds (4.1 rpg). In IPFW’s last outing a 66-56 win over Kennesaw State, he had 23 points, six rebounds six assists and six steals. Smith, meanwhile, had nine points, three rebounds and seven assists and three steals in Eastern’s last game, an 89-67 win over Roosevelt.

The skinny: The Mastodons continue to get balanced scoring. Four players – Jacobo, Reed, Steve Forbes and Bland – are averaging double figures, and four more – Michael Kibiloski, Joe Edwards, Mo Evans and Isaiah McCray – are averaging between 8.9 and 7.7 points. … Eastern Illinois has played two Big Ten schools, Northwestern and Purdue, losing to the former by 17 and the latter by 28. … Eastern’s tallest player is 7-2 Matt Piotrowski and the roster includes four players who stand 6-8 or more. IPFW’s tallest player is the 6-9 Forbes. Reed and Brent Calhoun both go 6-8.

– Ben Smith, The Journal Gazette

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