Central Michigan (4-4) at Pepperdine (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) -- Malibu, California. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 2-1, Pepperdine 3-0. Away Record: CMU 0-3, Pepperdine 3-3. Neutral Record: CMU 2-0, Pepperdine 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, Pepperdine 0-0. Series Record: Central Michigan leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Pepperdine Waves return home to Firestone Fieldhouse to host the Central Michigan Chippewas for a non-conference tilt on Sunday evening.
CMU dropped a 78-66 decision to the Charlotte 49ers last time out, which dropped its record to 4-4. The Chippewas have alternated wins and losses during their past six games. This will be just the second true road game for coach Keno Davis's squad, which suffered a 12-point setback at Iowa in its season opener. CMU is producing 62.2 points per contest on just 38.3 percent shooting from the floor while allowing opponents to net 66.6 ppg with a 45.6 field goal percentage.
Marty Wilson's Waves are 6-3 after their 63-56 victory at Hawaii on Dec. 8. The win was the second in a row for Pepperdine, which is 3-0 at home so far. The Waves best victory came in an overtime thriller where they edged Washington State to jump start a four-game winning streak, but they had it snapped with a loss four-point overtime loss at Utah Valley. Pepperdine is scoring 65.3 ppg and holding its opposition to 62.2 ppg.
This will be just the second time these schools face each other in history. CMU picked up a 67-57 decision in Malibu on Nov. 21, 2011 in the inaugural bout.
The Chippewas were plagued by 16 turnovers their last time out, as Charlotte converted them into 16 points. CMU began the contest out of sync as it converted just 30.8 percent of its field goal attempts in the opening 20 minutes, but it gained steam after the break to convert 40 percent of its shots from the floor and all nine of its free throw tries. Senior guard Kyle Randall paced the team with 15 points, but he went 4-of-17 from the field and committed eight turnovers. Senior forward Olivier Mbaigoto and freshman forward John Simons chipped in 13 points each. Randall is the only player on CMU with a double-digit scoring average, as his 14.1 ppg is the eighth highest mark in the Mid-American Conference. Simons is the team's top rebounder with 8.6 per contest.
The Waves were fortunate to escape their trip to Hawaii with a win as the Warriors made just 13-of-26 attempts at the free throw line. Pepperdine made 40 percent of its field goals and limited the hosts to a 33.3 field goal percentage. Sophomore guard Jordan Baker came off the bench to lead the team with 15 points and seven rebounds. Senior guards Lorne Jackson and Caleb Willis tallied 11 points each. Jackson, who missed all of last season following ACL surgery, is averaging a team-best 15.7 points after scoring in double-figures in each outing. Rookie forward Stacy Davis (10.8 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Baker (10.1 ppg) are also carrying double-digit scoring averages into Sunday.
Davis will need some time to turn CMU into a winning program. The Chippewas lack the balance, depth, and experience which are all crucial in games away from home. The Waves have a strong leader in Jackson to ride to another win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 68, Central Michigan 63
12/16 10:33:56 ET