Between the Eastern Illinois men's basketball team and Green Bay, the two teams have played 13 games and have combined for four wins total. Despite both teams coming into the game with two wins apiece - EIU is 2-5 overall and Green Bay is 2-4 - EIU coach Jay Spoonhour sees a good amount of similarities between the two teams.
EIU's schedule has been tough this season with three guaranteed games already - Nebraska, San Diego State and Marquette - and a game at a Missouri Valley Conference opponent - Bradley. Green Bay has played against Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Mississippi State and is coming off a recent road loss at Belmont, where the Phoenix had a seven-point halftime lead.
The two teams are even scoring about the same amount of points. EIU is averaging 71.4 points per game and Green Bay is averaging 72.3 points per contest. EIU is allowing 71.1 points per game and the Phoenix aren't far behind averaging 68 points per game.
"I think they've got young guys and I think they've gotten gradually better," Spoonhour said. "The Belmont game, they played well. A couple of things bounce their way and they went and it's a heck of thing to go down there and compete. We are both in the same boat. We are both playing alright, but playing teams that are a hair better. We both need a win."
Wednesday's game starts at 7 p.m. in Green Bay at the Resch Center.
EIU is coming off a 67-56 loss to Bradley, its second loss in a row after falling to Marquette in overtime. It's the 38th meeting between EIU and Green Bay since both teams used to be in the Mid-Continent Conference. Green Bay holds a 22-15 advantage in the series and won at EIU two year's ago. Green Bay won in the last meeting at the Resch Center on Nov. 27, 2007. EIU last won in Green Bay on Jan. 15, 1988.
"Going to Green Bay isn't the optimal place if you need a win and that's what we are doing," Spoonhour said. "Every one of these game that we've got, we knew they would be hard and we have to go out there and compete. But you have to go and win these, you can't just put yourself in position to win it."
Khalil Small is Green Bay's leading scorer at 14.8 points per game and he's made 37 trips to the free throw line this season. Small, who is 6-2, is also the team's leading rebounder with 7.5 per game. He's also averaging 3.2 assists per game.
Outside of Small, Kameron Hankerson is averaging 11.8 points per game and T.J. Parham is averaging 10.5 points per game. The Phoenix are shooting 39 percent as a team.
"(Smith) does a lot of stuff and it's a hard matchup because there's times he's got it in transition and he also rebounds," Spoonhour said. "There's not a lot of guys who have the whole skill set to defend that. He's the kind of guy to worry about and they have some other good guys."
Green Bay is holding opponents to 39.3 percent from the field.
Jajuan Starks leads EIU with 15 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He was named the Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week after he scored a career-high 27 points against Marquette last week. He's shooting 53.4 percent from the floor.
Muusa Dama had his biggest game of the season against Bradley when he scored a career-high 20 points. He is averaging 9.1 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season.
Terrell Lewis scored 13 points on Friday at Bradley to become the 37th member of the 1,000-point club in EIU history. He needs three assists to reach 500 for his career and he would become only the ninth player in OVC history to accomplish that feat. He is EIU's career leader in assists and he needs three 3-pointers to move into third all-time in EIU history.