Eastern Michigan (8-5) at Bowling Green (6-7)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Stroh Center (5,000) -- Bowling Green, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: EMU 7-1, BGSU 4-2. Away Record: EMU 1-4, BGSU 1-4. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, BGSU 1-1. Conference Record: EMU 0-0, BGSU 0-0. Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 47-38.
GAME NOTES: Mid-American Conference action tips off on Wednesday night at the Stroh Center, as the Bowling Green Falcons play host to the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
EMU's non-conference schedule turned out well, as it went 8-5, with its most recent triumph over Rochester College at home on Saturday (92-54) its third win in the past five games. The Eagles have not fared so well away from their home arena however, as they have lost four of five on the road.
As for BGSU, it has endured an up-and-down season to this point with a 6-7 record, although it has defended its home court admirably by going 4-2 at the Stroh Center. The Falcons appeared to have turned things around with three straight wins in mid-December, but since then they have dropped back-to-back games to Wright State (46-43) and IUPU-Fort Wayne (65-60).
BGSU leads the all-time series with EMU, 47-38, including a 46-44 home victory in last season's matchup.
The Eagles did what was expected of them against their NAIA opponent over the weekend, as they shot a blistering 59.6 percent from the field while holding Rochester College to a mere 33.9 percent shooting on their way to the easy 38- point victory. The contest would have been even more one-sided had they not struggled from 3-point range (3-of-13). Karrington Ward paced the balanced effort with 14 points. Darell Combs (12 points) and Daylen Harrison (10) were solid off the bench, Raven Lee and Glenn Bryant netted 11 and 10, respectively, and Da'Shonte Riley pulled down 14 rebounds.
On the season, EMU has impressed offensively, shooting 44.6 percent from the field for 71.3 ppg, which is 5.2 ppg more than it allows, and while it is hindered by a poor rebounding margin (-3.9), it helps make up for it by winning the turnover battle (+3.6 turnover margin). Ward is the team leader in scoring (14.2 ppg), rebounding (5.9 rpg) and steals (1.5 spg). Lee puts up 11.7 ppg, while Bryant tallies 10.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 2.1 bpg all while shooting greater than 61 percent from the field.
The Falcons trailed IPFW by 16 early in the second half of their most recent contest, and even though they were able to climb back in the game thanks to an 18-3 run, they were never able to overtake the lead down the stretch. They shot a modest 40 percent from the field on the evening, but only 2-of-15 came from 3-point range, and they were also plagued by a game-high 19 turnovers. Jehvon Clarke and Richaun Holmes both scored 16 points while Spencer Parker had 15, but the other five players to see the floor combined for just 13 points. Cameron Black was only 1-of-5 from the field but hauled in 11 rebounds.
BGSU has struggled to get its offense going all season long, as it puts up just 65.9 ppg while boasting poor percentages from beyond the arc (.275) and the free-throw line (.630), but it is able to remain competitive thanks to its impressive scoring defense (64.9 ppg). Holmes is one of the MAC's most productive forwards, as he posts 14.2 ppg (on 55.3 percent from the field), 7.5 rpg, 3.1 bpg and 1.2 spg. Parker (13.0 ppg), Clarke (11.9 ppg, 4.6 apg) and Anthony Henderson (10.6 ppg) contribute regularly, although Clarke and Henderson each shoot less than 40 percent from the floor.
BGSU has performed well on its home floor, which will certainly give it a leg up against an EMU squad that has failed to make its mark on the road. Still, the Eagles have been the superior team this season and should find a way to overcome their road surroundings in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 70, Bowling Green 66
01/08 10:35:54 ET