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Central Michigan (11-20) vs. Toledo (17-15)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 7, 9:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Quicken Loans Arena (20,562) -- Cleveland, Ohio. Television: SportsTime Ohio. Home Record: Central Michigan 6-6, Toledo 10-7. Away Record: Central Michigan 3-13, Toledo 5-7. Neutral Record: Central Michigan 2-1, Toledo 3-1. Conference Record: Central Michigan 5-11, Toledo 7-9. Series Record: Toledo leads, 53-33.

GAMES NOTES: The seventh-seeded Toledo Rockets will try to avoid falling to the 11th-seeded Central Michigan Chippewas in the second round of the Mid- American Conference Tournament when the teams match up at Quicken Loans Arena with a quarterfinal date against third-seeded Ohio hanging in the balance.

These squads split the season series with the home team taking each time. Toledo won most recently edging the Chippewas 72-67 on its home floor to take a 53-33 lead in the all-time series although Central Michigan had won six straight in the series before that regular season defeat.

Central Michigan is coming off an upset victory over sixth-seeded Bowling Green as the Chippewas hung on for a 54-53 win in the opening round in Monday. The Chippewas have now won three of their last four games in a season in which wins were hard to come by. The Chippewas were just 11-20 overall this season and notched five wins in 16 tries in league play.

Toledo kept it's hot streak to end the regular season into conference tournament play by downing Miami-Ohio on Monday 60-53 giving the Rockets wins in back-to-back games and six of their last seven. Toledo needed the stretch of success at the end of the season to push them to the seventh seed at a league mark of 7-9 which goes with their overall record of 17-15.

Central Michigan's opening round victory was far from cut and dry. The Chippewas led by the final 54-53 score with three seconds left on the clock. The Falcons got Jordon Brown to the free-throw line but he missed his second attempt only to have Torian Oglesby grab the offensive board. Oglesby missed his first attempt but got his own rebound and put that in. Officials ruled that the shot came too late and after official review the call was confirmed, allowing the Chippewas to move on.

In the game as a whole Central Michigan connected on 44.4 percent of its shots including 8-of-12 from three point range while holding Bowling Green to 34.5 percent.

With lead scorer Trey Zeigler (15.7 ppg) limited to only three points on a ghastly 1-for-12 shooting performance, Central Michigan had to look elsewhere for its offensive punch. Enter Austin McBroom who poured in 20 points and also handed out six assists to power the team to the victory. The freshman guard (10.9 ppg) was the third leading scorer in the regular season and the 20 points was a career high topping a 19 point effort against Kent State earlier in the season. Derek Jackson (11.3 ppg) was the only other player in double figures scoring 12, all coming fro beyond the arc where we went 4-for-5 in the game, none more important one with 1:47 remaining that gave the Chippewas lead for the final time in the game. Central Michigan has struggled offensively, averaging only 61.5 points per game while allowing a somewhat respectable 66.4

Toledo had a much clearer road to its opening round victory as the Rockets went up 32-24 at the half and held on in the second half to down Miami-Ohio. Both teams shot an even 40.0 percent in the game but the Rockets had two more total field goals and outscored the RedHawks 12-4 from the free-throw line to earn the victory.

The Rockets got another stellar performance from their star player in the win with Rian Pearson dropping in 21 points and pulling down 13 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the year. The sophomore was the third highest vote getter for MAC Player of the Year, leading the conference in scoring (16.6 ppg) and ranking third in rebounding (8.4 pg) this season. The Rockets did have a player win a postseason award with MAC Freshman of the Year going to Julius Brown. The guard (11.8 ppg, 4.8 apg) had only nine points and one assist in the opening round victory but in the regular season was a solid scorer while finishing fourth in the MAC in assists. Curtis Dennis (12.2 ppg) was also off his game in the win finishing with only seven points while Matt Smith (9.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg) stepped up to score 12 points and grab eight rebounds. In the regular season, Toledo was just slightly above average offensively putting in an even 70.0 points per game which was good enough for fifth in the league while surrendering 66.1 points per game.

Central Michigan proved that it can be competitive even when Zeigler struggles. Still the Chippewas were a half a second away from taking a loss on Monday despite getting a career night from McBroom. With Toledo's stronger offense and deeper roster the Rockets will put an end to any upset bids and push forward.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 71, Central Michigan 62

03/07 10:34:54 ET