North Dakota State (1-2) at Western Michigan (3-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: NDSU 1-1, WMU 1-0. Away Record: NDSU 0-1, WMU 0-1. Neutral Record: NDSU 0-0, WMU 2-0. Conference Record: NDSU 0-0, WMU 0-0. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Western Michigan Broncos shoot for a third straight win tonight at University Arena, as they host the North Dakota State Bison in non- conference action.
Since bowing to Hawaii during the Rainbow Classic back on Nov. 9, the Broncos have turned it around with consecutive victories. The latest of those was a 73-69 final versus a pesky Alabama A&M on Sunday afternoon at home.
Over on the other side, North Dakota State exploded onto the scene with a 93-49 rout of Viterbo, a school that operates at the NAIA level in Wisconsin, in the season opener, but since then has fallen to Saint Mary's (78-65) and, on Monday night, Southern Miss (70-69).
The Broncos lead the all-time series between the teams by a count of 2-1, capturing a 72-71 overtime victory in the most recent matchup back in March as part of the 2013 College Basketball Invitational.
Southern Miss led by four with one minute remaining in regulation, but the Bison managed to whittle that down to just a single point in the waning moments before suffering the loss two nights ago. North Dakota State actually led by as many as nine points in the first half, but then experienced a massive 23-point swing before coming up short after 40 minutes of action. TrayVonn Wright scored a team-best 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, followed by Mike Felt with 15 points and Taylor Braun a double-double of his own with 11 points and 11 assists.
NDSU has had a different leading scorer each time out this season and overall the top man is Felt with his 14.0 ppg, pacing a total of five players in double figures. Felt is shooting a modest 46.4 percent from the field, but it is his 11-of-25 (.440) behind the 3-point line that is carrying him. Braun checks in with not only 13.7 ppg, but also 21 assists in order to keep his teammates involved in the action.
Shayne Whittington erupted for a massive double-double consisting of 22 points and a game-high 17 rebounds, not to mention sinking both of his 3-point tries, as the Broncos held off Alabama A&M at home by four points. Perhaps the only knock on Whittington's effort is the fact that he made just 4-of-10 at the free-throw line, as the team outscored the visitors at the charity stripe by a 20-9 margin, yet still made good on only 52.6 percent. David Brown chipped in with 21 points for the survivors as well.
Until Whittington's breakout game versus Alabama A&M, Brown had held at least a share of the scoring lead in every game for the Broncos, which is why he sits atop the list overall at the moment with 19.3 ppg. However, Brown is shooting only 38.9 percent from the floor, a far cry from the 59.1 percent recorded by Whittington (18.0 ppg) who generally doesn't stray far from the basket in order to pull down 14.5 rpg.
The one-two scoring punch of Brown and Whittington is tough to ignore for the Broncos and as long as WMU can continue to put together a solid defensive effort the wins should keep coming.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 72, North Dakota State 64
11/20 10:34:10 ET