Eastern Michigan (11-14) at Central Michigan (7-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, February 14th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Eastern Michigan 7-3, Central Michigan 3-5. Away Record: Eastern Michigan 4-10, Central Michigan 2-11. Neutral Record: Eastern Michigan 0-1, Central Michigan 2-1. Conference Record: Eastern Michigan 6-5, Central Michigan 2-9. Series Record: Central Michigan leads 97-87.
GAMES NOTES: An in-state rivalry will be renewed when the Eastern Michigan Eagles land in Mount Pleasant for a Mid-American Conference battle with the Central Michigan Chippewas at McGuirk Arena.
These squads met earlier this season with Central Michigan pulling out a 60-56 victory in Ypsilanti. The win stretches the Chippewas' all-time series advantage to 97-87 including wins in five of the last six matchups.
Eastern Michigan got a big win its last time out, taking down 19-6 Ohio (68-55) to snap a three-game losing streak. The Eagles are now 6-5 and retain the top spot in the MAC West Division although the mark is the sixth best record in the conference overall. The Eagles will be on the road in a non- conference tilt in their next outing against Green Bay.
Central Michigan was not so lucky in its last matchup, as the Chippewas suffered a 69-50 defeat to Miami-Ohio on Saturday. The loss was the ninth in a row both overall and in conference play, dropping the Chippewas to 2-9 in the league, tied with Northern Illinois for the bottom spot in the conference. The Chippewas get a reprieve from conference action when they take on Texas A&M- Corpus Christi in their next outing.
Eastern Michigan can yet again thank its defense for a win after the Eagles held Ohio to just 55 points on 31.3 percent shooting in the victory on Saturday. On offense Eastern Michigan was more effective than usual as well shooting an even 50.0 percent from the floor including 8-fo-12 from beyond the arc as the Eagles overcame 19 turnovers to get in the win column.
Defense has been essential for the Eagles, who score just 53.5 points per game which is the worst total in the conference, while shooting just 38.2 percent from the field. Eastern Michigan counteracts its offense with a defense allowing just 59.6 points per game but with a -6.1 scoring differential its difficult to see the Eagles sustaining a winning record. Junior guard Derek Thompson (5.9 ppg) came out of nowhere and poured in 23 points to lead all scorers in the win over Ohio. Thompson played in only 11 total minutes and didn't record a single point in the team's previous two contests. Normally Darrell Lampley (13.3 ppg) is the team's best offensive threat but against Ohio he managed only nine points on 3-of-9 shooting. Jamell Harris (5.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Antonio Green (7.4 ppg) each made up for Lampley's scoring woes by putting in 12 and 13 points respectively.
Central Michigan was atrocious in the first half of its loss to Miami-Ohio, digging itself into a 30-15 hole at the half that the Chippewas could not overcome. Central Michigan shot just 34.0 percent including 4-of-18 from the beyond the arc. On the other side, the RedHawks shot 43.8 percent and were much more effective from three point range (10-of-19).
Unlike Eastern Michigan, the Chippewas don't make up for its poor offense with strong defense. Central Michigan allows 67.8 points per game while scoring only 61.8 on 38.9 percent shooting as a team. The Chippewas list of weaknesses also extend to passing (10.2 apg) and rebounding (32.7 rpg) which are both third worst in the conference. The offense does have a bright spot in sophomore guard Trey Zeigler. Zeigler is averaging 15.4 points per game while bringing in 6.7 rebounds per contest, both team highs. Zeigler's scoring also puts him fifth in the conference as he got back on track with a 17 point performance against Miami-Ohio after putting in a season-low four points in the previous game. Guards Derek Jackson (11.1 ppg) and Austin McBroom (10.3 ppg) can also score in the backcourt but the team lacks production in the frontcourt with Andre Coimbra (7.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) the most consistent contributor in the paint.
Central Michigan has already put together a victory against Eastern Michigan this season and with the Eagles primed for a letdown after the win over Ohio, the Chippewas may be able to ride Zeigler's scoring to a win at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 58, Eastern Michigan 55
02/14 10:34:43 ET