Bowling Green (14-12) at Akron (19-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 22nd, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: James A. Rhodes Arena (5,500) -- Akron, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Bowling Green 10-3, Akron 11-1. Away Record: Bowling Green 4-9, Akron 7-6. Neutral Record: Bowling Green 0-0, Akron 0-1. Conference Record: Bowling Green 7-5, Akron 11-1. Series Record: Akron leads, 25-24.
GAMES NOTES: The Akron Zips will be eager to get back to conference play as the Bowling Green Falcons land in James A. Rhodes Arena for a Mid-American Conference matchup tonight.
Akron had won eight straight games, all against conference opponents, before falling in a BracketBuster pairing at Oral Roberts on Saturday. The loss drops the Zips to 19-8 overall, However, at 11-1 in MAC play Akron is still the top squad not only in the MAC East Division but the conference overall. The Zips will be on the road against Ohio in its next matchup.
The first game between these teams this season was a nail-biter that came down to the final seconds, as Akron escaped with a 56-55 victory on a Nick Harney lay up in the final seconds. The win nudged the Zips to a 25-24 lead in the all-time series and was their sixth straight win against Bowling Green.
The Falcons have been rolling of late winning five of their last six including a 73-60 defeat of Morehead State as part of the BracketBuster series over the weekend. Before that matchup Bowling Green took its first loss in conference play this month by losing to Ohio. With the loss the Falcons are now 7-5 in conference play which is fifth in the competitive MAC East Division. The Falcons will play host in their next matchup when Kent State comes to town.
Bowling Green shot the lights out in the win over Morehead State, connecting on 57.1 percent of their shots from the floor including 14-of-26 from three point range to overcome 17 turnovers.
Scott Thomas was sensational in the game, scoring a career-high 28 points, while knocking down eight three pointers. For the season Thomas is now scoring 12.7 points per game while shooting a solid 37.8 percent from beyond the arc. Thomas is also the teams leading rebounder (6.5 rpg). Despite Thomas' outing, it is still A'uston Calhoun (13.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) that holds the title of lead scorer for the Falcons, although he scored only five points in the win on Saturday. Dee Brown (10.5 ppg) showed his ability to fill it up effectively by scoring 19 points last time out and Jordon Crawford (10.7 ppg, 5.0 apg) was in top form, dishing out 12 assists. On the season, Bowling Green is now scoring 67.0 points per game while allowing 63.5 to its opponents for a +3.5 scoring differential. The Falcons offense may not be excessively potent but it makes the best of its shot opportunities by shooting 46.1 percent from the floor which is the second best mark in the conference.
Akron fell behind early and trailed 33-22 at the end of the first half in its loss to Oral Roberts on Saturday. For the game the Zips shot only 41.4 percent from the floor and were ineffective from three point range (5-of-22) but managed to keep the game within striking distance for most of the second half.
In the MAC the bet team by record has also been the best team offensively this season as Akron is scoring 73.0 points per game while shooting 46.6 percent from the floor which both lead the conference. The Zips also post solid numbers as a team in assists (13.8 apg) and rebounds (36.1 rpg) which are both third in the league. Alex Abreu (8.8 ppg, 4.5 apg) was the only real effective scorer for the Zips on Saturday as he put in 16 points while also serving as the team's primary distributor, dishing out four assists. Senior forward Nikola Cvetinovic (10.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg) managed 11 points in the loss to push his scoring average back into double digits. Junior center Zeke Marshall (10.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg) has continued to struggle recently failing to score in double digits in three straight games including a paltry four points and one rebound against Oral Roberts. Marshall, who is the conferences leading shot blocker (3.1 bpg), was limited due to foul trouble as he collected four in the game.
Akron was rolling through the MAC before the speed bump against Oral Roberts and there's no reason to think that the Zips will make losing a trend. With the benefit of playing at home and the teams overall balance on offense expect a bounce back victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 76, Bowling Green 67
02/22 10:35:08 ET