Toledo (11-11) at Central Michigan (9-15)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: MHTV. Home Record: Toledo 6-2, CMU 5-5. Away Record: Toledo 4-9, CMU 1-9. Neutral Record: Toledo 1-0, CMU 3-1. Conference Record: Toledo 7-4, CMU 2-9. Series Record: Toledo leads, 56-32.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets head to McGuirk Arena on Saturday hoping to complete the season series sweep of the Central Michigan Chippewas in a Mid- American Conference bout.
The first matchup of 2012-13 between these schools went to overtime with the Rockets emerging from the extra session as the victor with a 76-72 decision on Jan. 12. The Chippewas' loss extended Toledo's all-time series lead to 56-32. Julius Brown finished the game with 21 points and nine assists, while Rian Pearson chipped in 20 points for the Rockets. Kyle Randall tallied 24 points for CMU in the losing effort.
The Rockets are coming off a surprising, 75-60 loss at Buffalo that snapped their five-game winning streak. Luckily for Toledo, Western Michigan also lost on Wednesday which kept the two schools tied for first in the West Division standings. Pearson is leading the team and the conference in scoring with 18.2 ppg while also placing eighth in the league with 6.6 rebounds per outing. Brown adds 13.3 ppg and 5.5 apg to the mix.
Despite falling to the Bulls, Toledo placed three players in double figures as Brown, Pearson, and Matt Smith finished with 10 points apiece. The trio's effort was far from enough to get the job done however, as Buffalo hit on 51.9 percent of its field goal tries while holding the Rockets to 32.4 percent efficiency from the floor.
Keno Davis has not had a smooth trip through his first season at CMU, which enters 9-15 overall and with a league worst, 2-9 MAC record. The Chippewas have been unable to pick up too many wins this season despite the solid play of Randall. The UNC Greensboro transfer averaged just 5.7 ppg as a Spartan in 2011-12 before transferring to the MAC to net 17.7 ppg. Unfortunately the 5- foot-10 guard has not had much help as Blake Hibbitts is a far second in the scoring column with 8.4 ppg.
Randall poured in a game-high 28 points his last time out, but CMU still suffered an 82-63 loss to Ohio at home. Chris Fowler joined Randall in double digits with 10 points, while John Simons collected 11 boards. Ball handling turned out to be an issue as the Bobcats converted CMU's 19 turnovers into 19 points to equal the final scoring margin. On the season, the Chippewas are a middle of the road team offensively in the conference with 66.4 ppg, but they are allowing 71.6 ppg to rank last in scoring defense.
CMU continues to lose despite the solid play by Randall. The Chippewas do not have what it takes defensively to slow down Toledo's deep attack that features six players with scoring averages of 7.7 ppg or better. Although the first matchup between these two needed an extra session to be decided, the first-place Rockets should be able to win by a much more comfortable margin in round two.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 73, Central Michigan 64
02/16 10:34:57 ET