Central Michigan (7-6) at Toledo (12-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 11, 6 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Savage Arena (7,300) -- Toledo, Ohio. Television: Time Warner Sports. Home Record: Central Michigan 5-3, Toledo 6-0. Away Record: Central Michigan 2-3, Toledo 4-2. Neutral Record: Central Michigan 0-0, Toledo 2-0. Conference Record: Central Michigan 0-1, Toledo 0-1. Series Record: Central Michigan leads, 56-33.
GAME NOTES: After jumping out to a 12-0 record to start the season, the Toledo Rockets have lost two consecutive games and look to get things back on track as they host the Central Michigan Chippewas in Mid-American Conference play at Savage Arena.
Central Michigan went on a four-game winning streak to end the month of November, but has since lost three of four games and is in danger of falling to .500 on the season. The Chippewas lost to Miami-Ohio, 77-70, in their last outing.
Toledo had a slim chance of beating Kansas two games ago, but the Rockets ended up falling, 93-83. Whatever effects the loss had on their previously unbeaten season clearly carried over when Toledo was downed by Western Michigan, 87-76, on Wednesday.
Central Michigan holds a convincing 56-33 all-time series lead over Toledo, but the Chippewas went 0-2 against the Rockets last season. CMU hasn't defeated Toledo since January of 2012.
The Chippewas came up just short against the visiting RedHawks in their MAC opener. Chris Fowler led all scorers in the game, netting 22 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and 10-of-13 from the free-throw line. Fowler dished out a game-high seven assists and pulled down four rebounds in the losing effort. Blake Hibbitts scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds, while John Simons added 10 and nine rebounds. Central Michigan shot 40.4 percent from the floor and 31 percent from 3-point range in the loss.
Fowler has been the guiding light for the Chippewas this season, averaging 16.9 ppg and recording a team-high 69 total assists and 19 steals. In 130 shots attempted from the floor, Fowler has hit 60 percent of them. Simons is the only other player to average scoring numbers in the double digits with 11.8 ppg. He tops the team in rebounding this season at 6.5 rpg. The Chippewas score 77.2 ppg compared to opponents' 69.5 ppg.
After a not very surprising loss to ranked Kansas two games ago, Toledo rebounded with a much more shocking loss to Western Michigan in the Rockets' most recent contest. Justin Drummond led the Rockets in scoring with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor. Rian Pearson netted 13 points and grabbed a team-high 13 rebounds for the double-double. Julius Brown (12) and J.D. Weatherspoon (10) each scored in the double-digits. The Rockets couldn't slow a Western Michigan shooting spree that saw 60.4 percent of its shots fall through.
Pearson leads a quality group of scorers for the Rockets, averaging 15.9 ppg. Five Toledo players average scoring figures in the double digits this season for a unit that nets 85.3 ppg through 14 contests. Weatherspoon is one of those five, contributing 11 ppg and a team-leading 5.6 rpg. The Rockets are shooting a stellar 48.5 percent from the floor and bringing down 37.1 rpg.
In what looks to be a tight MAC race early on, it seems Toledo won't stay down for long with such adept scoring on its roster. At home the Rockets should bounce back.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Toledo 83, Central Michigan 75
01/11 10:30:59 ET