Texas State (4-7) at Central Michigan (5-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: TSU 3-3, CMU 2-1. Away Record: TSU 0-2, CMU 1-3. Neutral Record: TSU 1-2, CMU 2-0. Conference Record: TSU 0-0, CMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats conclude their brief tour of the Midwest on Thursday with a visit to McGuirk Arena for a non-conference tilt against the Central Michigan Chippewas.
Texas State is coming off of a 74-68 setback to Northwestern in Evanston. Coach Doug Davalos guided the team to victories in its first two games of the season, but it has lost seven of nine since to fall to 4-7 overall. The Bobcats, who winless in two true road games, average 73.2 points per game on 41.6 shooting from the field. However, Texas State is allowing its opponents to score 73.4 ppg and is also being outrebounded by an average margin of 2.8 boards per contest.
Keno Davis's Chippewas improved to 5-4 on Sunday by escaping their visit to Firestone Fieldhouse with an 80-77 decision over Pepperdine. It was the first time this season that the team hit the 80-point mark. CMU has alternated wins and losses over its past seven contests. The Chippewas have managed to play well in close games as four of their five wins have come by four points or less. They are post 64.2 ppg, which is 3.6 than their opponents are scoring against them.
This will be the first meeting in history between Texas State and CMU on the hardwood.
The Bobcats made a clear effort on the glass versus Northwestern as they held a 39-28 edge in the rebounding battle. They also made 45.5 percent from the field and held the Wildcats to a 42.9 field goal percentage. However, Northwestern drained 12-of-28 from 3-point range to come out on top after its poor 14-of-25 performance at the charity stripe allowed Texas State to keep close. Sophomore guard Wesley Davis and junior forward Joel Wright scored 19 points each for the Bobcats while senior forward Matt Staff filled up the stat sheet with 10 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and three blocks. Staff (15.5 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Wright (15 ppg, 6.4 rpg) are without a doubt Texas State's key players. Corey Stern (8.9 ppg), Davis (8.4 ppg, 2.3 spg), and Vonn Jones (7.9 ppg, 3.7 apg) all play important roles as well.
CMU did not do a great job on the boards its last time out as it grabbed 19 rebounds to Pepperdine's total of 35. However, the Chippewas managed to come out on top by producing an offensive explosion after halftime. They shot 61.9 percent from the field and added 15 points at the free throw over the final 20 minutes while the Waves shot 55.9 percent and attempted only two shots at the charity stripe. Kyle Randall was named MAC Player of the Week after scoring 21 points in the contest to mark his third 20-point outing in the last four games. He is the only double-digit scorer on the team with 14.9 ppg. Freshman forward John Simon is adding nine points and a team-best 4.7 rebounds per game.
Although the Bobcats have a more balanced unit, CMU is rallying around Randall and his scoring prowess. The other Chippewas will have to provide more support as the season progresses, which is expected to come in due time considering their regular rotation includes five freshmen and a sophomore that will only get better with experience. However, this one could go to the visitors as Texas State showed versus a Big Ten school its last time out that it can be a handful even on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 67, Central Michigan 64
12/20 10:37:15 ET