GAME NOTES: The Central Michigan Chippewas look to spoil the longest current win streak in the nation, when they take on the Akron Zips at James A. Rhodes Arena in a Mid-American Conference matchup on Tuesday.
This will be the 41st meeting in history between these schools. Akron holds a 27-13 all-time series edge after its
Keno Davis and his Chippewas are mired in a four-game slide after being defeated at home, 70-61, by Buffalo on Saturday. CMU was dominated inside in the setback. The Bulls held a narrow, 36-34 edge in total rebounds and outscored CMU, 28-14, in the paint to capture the victory. The four straight setbacks dropped the Chippewas three games below the .500 mark on the season including its 2-6 mark in MAC action. Kyle Randall paced the team in the losing effort with 20 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field, while Blake Hibbitts chimed in with 12 points off the bench.
After shooting 40.4 percent against Buffalo a game earlier, the Chippewas cooled off to connect on 35.3 percent of their field-goal tries against the RedHawks on Saturday. Miami shot 42.9 percent from the field and assisted 12 of their 21 made field goals. Randall is the third-leading scorer in the conference at 16.9 ppg, but Hibbitts is a distant second on the team at 8.7 ppg. Chris Fowler has shown the ability to run the offense and distribute effectively, as he deals out 5.1 assists and records 1.3 steals per contest as well. On the season, the Chippewas are weak on both ends of the court with a scoring offense of 66.8 ppg against their scoring defense of 70.5 ppg.
Akron took control of sole possession of first place in the MAC standings on Saturday as it coasted to an 86-72 victory over Ohio, which came in as the only other unbeaten left in the league. The Zips' 13-game winning streak is the longest active streak of any current Division I program.
Coach Keith Dambrot's squad is outscoring its opponents by 11.4 points per game and holding a + 7.6 rebounding margin during conference action. The Zips have the top scoring offense (75.3) in the MAC as well as the third-best scoring defense (62.8). Senior center Zeke Marshall posts 13.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks per contest while Demetrius Treadwell contributes 10.8 points and 7.7 boards a game. Marshall is the MAC's all-time and active NCAA career blocked shots leader (321). Junior point guard Alex Abreu is also valuable to Akron's success as he deals out 6.0 assists per tilt. Abreu played a huge role in the team' victory over the Bobcats as he outplayed Ohio's D.J. Cooper to finish with 21 points and nine assists.
The Zips shot 56.1 percent from the floor (32-of-577 and 37.4 percent from long range (6-of-16) while limiting the Bobcats to 40.7 percent (22-of-54) shooting on Saturday to earn the 14-point triumph. Treadwell registered a double-double of 15 points and 10 boards, while Marshall notched one of his own with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Nick Harney added 13 points, and Reggie McAdams provided a huge spark off the bench with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field in 12 minutes of action. The win improved the Zips to 8-0 in league play for the first time ever.
Akron appears to be playing in a league of its own this season, as no MAC school has appeared to be a worthy opponent to this point. The Zips have talent at every position and Marshall's work as a defensive anchor gives them a definite edge over most opponents. CMU's recent woes will not go away unless Randall gets some significant help from his teammates on the offensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 81, Central Michigan 54
02/05 10:32:23 ET
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