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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 8, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 6-0, Western Michigan 5-1. Away Record: Toledo 4-1, Western Michigan 0-4. Neutral Record: Toledo 2-0, Western Michigan 2-0. Conference Record: Toledo 0-0, Western Michigan 0-0. Series Record: Toledo leads, 78-57.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets haven't taken the court since a Dec. 30 loss to Kansas, which broke up the team's perfect 12-0 record. Now the Rockets travel to face the Western Michigan Broncos to open up Mid-American Conference play at University Arena.
Toledo began the season a perfect 12-0 but dropped a 93-83 decision against Kansas, which closed out the team's non-conference schedule. The Rockets look to get back to their winning ways as they face the Broncos on the road.
Western Michigan has been on a roller coaster ride of a season, stringing together multiple wins and multiple losses at a time. The Broncos have won two in a row entering this matchup, including an 83-47 victory over Siena Heights on Jan. 2, the team's last outing.
These two historic conference rivals go way back, with Toledo leading the all- time series, 78-57, although Western Michigan leads in Kalamazoo, 42-25.
Toledo put up a good fight against the powerful Jayhawks, losing by 10 points on the road in Lawrence, Kan. The Rockets held their own against Kansas, committing just eight turnovers in the game and forcing Kansas to give the ball away 18 times. The Jayhawks grabbed the lead on the glass, outrebounding Toledo 44-28. Nathan Boothe paced the Rockets with 15 points on 7-of-13 shooting before fouling out of the game. J.D. Weatherspoon and Justin Drummond each netted 13 points in the losing effort, while Rian Pearson scored 10. Boothe dished out a team-high five assists in the contest.
Pearson leads the Rockets this season in scoring with 16.1 ppg, while Drummond isn't too far behind with a 14.6 ppg mark. Weatherspoon, who scores 11.1 ppg this season, leads the team in rebounding with a 5.8 rpg clip. Guard Julius Brown (12.9 ppg) leads the Rockets in assists with 93 total on the year.
In the last two games, the Broncos have scored a whopping 92 and 83 points, respectively. The bench had a lot to do with the blowout victory over Siena Heights, netting 43 of the team's 83 total points. Shayne Whittington scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor, including 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. The center pulled down four rebounds in the contest. Hayden Hoerdemann added 12 points and two steals, while David Brown contributed 10 points and five rebounds in 19 minutes. As a team, the Broncos shot 95.2 percent from the free-throw line in the win.
Brown leads the team this season in scoring with 18.9 ppg and tops the roster with 16 steals. Whittington (15.1 ppg) is the team's leading rebounder with an 8.9 rpg clip, and leading shot blocker with 12 total in just 10 games played. His 50.5 percent shooting from the floor comes largely from around the basket, using his 6-foot-11 frame to create space and grab rebounds. The Broncos score an average of 72.3 ppg this season.
Despite the loss Toledo suffered before its over week-long break, the Rockets should be rested and ready to take the court, hungry to get back on the winning side as conference play begins.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 78, Western Michigan 71
01/08 11:22:01 ET
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