Ohio University (16-5) at Western Michigan (12-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 5, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Ohio 10-3, WMU 8-2. Away Record: Ohio 6-2, WMU 2-6. Neutral Record: Ohio 0-0, WMU 2-0. Conference Record: Ohio 6-2, WMU 0-8. Series Record: Ohio University leads, 65-59.
GAME NOTES: In a critical Mid-American Conference battle, the Ohio Bobcats will square off with the Western Michigan Broncos at University Arena.
Ohio is currently 6-2 n league play, which has it tied with Toledo and Akron for first in the MAC standings. The Bobcats are also 16-5 overall, with wins in three-straight games entering Wednesday's contest. They will move on to take on Maimi-Ohio on Saturday, following this bout.
Western Michigan is just a game out of first place in the league (5-3) and tied with Buffalo and Miami-Ohio for fourth. The Broncos have won three of their last four games, improving to 12-8 overall in the process. They will visit Northern Illinois in their next tilt.
The last time these two teams matched up, Ohio booted Western Michigan from the MAC Tournament with a 74-63 victory in the event's semifinals. The Bobcats have won three straight and five of the last six against the Broncos, pushing their all-time series lead to 65-59.
Ohio is coming off a big win over Toledo, although it required an extra session to produce the 95-90 victory. Maurice Ndour scored 28 points and collected 13 rebounds, Stevie Taylor notched 23 points and Nick Kellogg drilled five triples and finished with 18 points and nine assists.
The Bobcats are not only in the upper echelon of the MAC in the standings, they are also putting up strong efforts in comparison to the rest of the league on offense. They rank fourth in the conference in scoring (71.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (44.5). However, their efforts on defense have been the real strength, with teams managing only 64.3 ppg on 38.4 percent shooting against them. Ndour (15.3 ppg, 8 rpg, 2 bpg) and Kellogg (14.5 ppg) provide most of the scoring punch as a solid inside-outside tandem. Ndour is also among the top five players in the league in scoring, rebounds and blocked shots.
David Brown may have missed all but one of his eight shots from 3-point range, but he still tallied a team-high 20 points to lead WEstern Michigan to a 75-72 win over Central Michigan last time out. The Broncos shot well as a team in the contest, netting 52 percent from the floor.
No one in the league is scoring better than Brown (18.4 ppg) this season. The 6-foot-3 guard doesn't provide much else and despite the flashy point totals, has been erratic as a shooter, netting just 29.3 percent from beyond the arc and 40.6 from the field overall. Shayne Whittington (14.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg) is the more consistent scorers, although he rarely takes shots from outside the paint. He finished with 14 points and eight boards against Central Michigan. Connar Tava (11.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is a solid third choice, as he is finishing on 60.2 percent of his attempts from the field. Tava went a perfect 4-of-4 from the floor to rack up 10 points against Central Michigan.
Playing on the road has not been a real challenge for Ohio (6-2), which plays well enough on defense to be a threat no matter the venue. The Bobcats will make life difficult for Brown and, as long as Ndour and Kellogg can hit shots in a hostile environment, they will be able to earn a crucial victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 73, Western Michigan 70
02/05 10:35:00 ET