Central Michigan (6-5) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, December 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Don Haskins Center (12,222) -- El Paso, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 3-1, UAPB 0-0. Away Record: CMU 1-3, UAPB 0-8. Neutral Record: CMU 2-1, UAPB 1-2. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, UAPB 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions will try to end their eight- game losing streak as they take on the Central Michigan Chippewas in the consolation game of the Sun Bowl Invitational at the Don Haskins Center.
The Golden Lions suffered an 83-61 setback to Texas-El Paso in the opening round on Saturday to fall to 1-10 on the season. UAPB has not played a game at home this season, but it has been defeated by double-digit margins in every game of its current losing slide. Coach George Ivory has some work to do as his Golden Lions are netting 52.5 points per game while allowing 72.5 ppg through 11 games.
CMU had its two-game winning streak snapped on Saturday with an 89-75 loss to Nebraska. The Chippewas are now 6-5 with a 2-1 record in neutral sited games. Coach Keno Davis's squad has managed to play well in close games as four of its five wins have come by four points or less. Central Michigan is posting 67.7 ppg, which is 3.1 less than its opponents are averaging against its defense.
This will be the first meeting in history between these programs on the hardwood.
The Chippewas had a strong showing at the free-throw line versus the Cornhuskers on Friday with 27 makes on 33 attempts, but their performance at the charity stripe was not enough to offset Nebraska's 57.1 percent shooting from the floor. Kyle Randall tallied a team-best 27 points and eight rebounds while John Simons added 14 points. Randall is averaging a team-best 16.3 ppg on 38.1 percent shooting from the floor. Simons is the only other double-digit scorer with 10.2 ppg.
UAPB was outplayed on both ends of the floor on Friday as it shot just 39.1 percent from the field and allowed the Miners to make 62.2 percent of their field goal attempts. UTEP also held a 36-27 edge in the rebounding battle and outscored UAPB, 18-5, at the free throw line. Mitchell Anderson and Lazabian Jackson scored 15 points each for the Golden Lions in the loss. Davon Haynes, who leads the team in both scoring (12.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.5 rpg), was held to eight points to go along with 10 rebound and five turnovers. Terrell Kennedy (11.4 ppg) and Jackson (11.1 ppg, 2.1 spg) are also key players for UAPB.
UAPB has too many holes to earn a victory over CMU, which has been much better recently due to Randall's hot hand. The senior guard is averaging 21 points per contest over his last six with at least two makes from long distance in each outing. The Golden Lions do not have anyone capable of slowing Randall down.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 74, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 63
12/23 10:32:29 ET