Pepperdine (2-0) at Central Michigan (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Pepperdine 1-0, CMU 1-0. Away Record: Pepperdine 1-0, CMU 0-1. Neutral Record: Pepperdine 0-0, CMU 0-0. Conference Record: Pepperdine 0-0, CMU 0-0. Series Record: CMU leads, 2-0.
GAMES NOTES: Before hosting an early season tournament next week the Central Michigan Chippewas will warm up with a non-conference clash with the Pepperdine Waves at McGuirk Arena.
This is the second part of a two-game road swing for the Waves, who topped UC Riverside, 69-66, in their first road test of the season. Stacy Davis hit a pair of free throws in the final minute to break a 63-63 tie and the Waves were then able to hold on down the stretch to secure their second win in as many games. In the season opener Pepperdine faced NAIA foe San Diego Christian and earned an easier victory (81-68). The Waves went 5-10 away from home last season.
Central Michigan is also coming off of its first road test of the season, one the Chippewas failed. CMU went up against Bradley and returned to Mount Pleasant after an 80-70 disappointment. Central Michigan earned a win in the season opener with a convincing 101-49 triumph over Division III foe Manchester. Central Michigan struggled at home last year, finishing just 6-6.
This is the third straight season these teams have matched up. In both previous meetings the visiting Chippewas earned victories.
Davis has been who the Waves want with the ball in his hands during a game. Davis dropped in 24 points in the opener and followed that up with a 22-point effort against UC Riverside, with his final two points serving as the go-ahead scores. Davis also secured 14 rebounds and handed out five assists, all while netting 14-of-20 attempts from the field. The scoring options are a bit limited after Davis, as Brendan Lane (11.0 ppg, 11.5 rpg) is the only player in double figures during the first two games. Lane has been much more important for his work on the glass as well as on defense as he has already blocked seven shots. Jeremy Major (9.0 ppg) had 10 points against UC Riverside and has handed out four assists in each game. As a team the Waves have shot at a 47.7 percent clip including a 13-of-35 showing from beyond the arc.
John Simons (20.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg) is the Chippewas' answer to Pepperdine's Davis at least based on early returns. Simons had a more pedestrian effort in the loss to Bradley as he netted 14 points to go with six rebounds. That level of production is what should be expected from him as the year progresses, not the 27-point barrage he erupted for in the opener. Chris Fowler (13.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, 2.0 spg) is making a nice mark on the early season with efficient shooting, strong passing and feisty defense. Fowler tied with Bradley's Walt Lemon Jr. for a game-high 20 points last time out, while dishing out five assists and collecting three steals. Fowler has made good on better than 70 percent of his shots in two games. Austin Keel (13.0 ppg) may be averaging in double figures but he has not been doing so at an efficient rate. Keel was especially erratic against Bradley when he connected on just 4-of-16 field goal tries, including misses on all seven attempts from beyond the arc.
Davis' versatility is something the Chippewas will have trouble stopping or matching. The sophomore forward can bang down low and also step out to the perimeter and knock down shots. Even though Central Michigan has more offensive balance, the Waves will ride Davis to a road win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 67, Central Michigan 63
11/16 10:42:33 ET