February 6, 2017

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MARTIN, Tenn. - The soaring University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team begins a three-game road swing with a Thursday night matchup at fellow Ohio Valley Conference West division rival Eastern Illinois on Feb. 9. Tipoff from Lantz Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Skyhawks (17-9, 7-4 OVC) have won six of their last seven outings and have seized the top spot in the OVC West standings. In that span, Jacolby Mobley has averaged 24.1 points per game while Javier Martinez has averaged a double-double of 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds per outing. That duo has claimed each of the last two adidas OVC Player of the Week awards.

UT Martin entered the week ranking sixth nationally in assists (430), trailing only No. 9 UCLA, No. 7 North Carolina, No. 18 Purdue, Lipscomb and The Citadel in Division-I basketball. Matthew Butler (945 minutes played, first), Martinez (.647 field goal percentage, sixth) and Mobley (3.55 three-point field goals made per game, 10th) also each rank in the top-10 in the country in their respective statistical categories.

The Skyhawks will look for a season sweep of Eastern Illinois following an 82-71 double overtime marathon at the Elam Center on Jan. 19. In that game, UT Martin overcame a double-digit second half deficit thanks in large part to a game-high 28 points out of Mobley and an 88.9 field goal percentage in the two extra periods.

Eastern Illinois (11-13, 3-8 OVC) leads the OVC in turnover margin (+3.83) but has lost five of its six home games in league play. That includes an 87-68 setback to Tennessee Tech on Saturday despite Montell Goodwin’s team-highs of 16 points and five assists off the bench. Goodwin led the Panthers with 20 points against UT Martin earlier this season while Muusa Dama (OVC-best 2.1 blocks per game) and Terrell Lewis (OVC-best 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio) also pace Eastern Illinois.

Fans can watch the game live, free of charge, on the OVC Digital Network at the link above. Chris Brinkley (play-by-play) and Justin Jefferies (color) will provide radio analysis locally on Star 95.1 FM or online at the link found at the top of the webpage. Live stats for the contest can also be tracked by accessing the link above.