Central Michigan (6-4) at Jacksonville State (4-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 17, 8:45 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Pete Mathews Coliseum (5,300) -- Jacksonville, Florida. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 4-2, JSU 3-1. Away Record: CMU 2-2, JSU 1-7. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, JSU 0-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, JSU 0-0. Series Record: Central Michigan leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: For the second time this season, the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Jacksonville State Gamecocks will go head-to-head, this time at Pete Mathews Coliseum in Florida.
This contest is part of a home-and-home series between the two programs, and Central Michigan took the first in a 66-61 decision at home on Nov. 30. That meeting was the first ever between the Chippewas and Gamecocks.
The Chippewas have split their two duels since facing off with the Gamecocks, posting a 65-64 win over SIU Edwardsville, and suffering an 84-58 rout at the hands of Dayton on Saturday. CMU is now 6-4 overall, although it is just 2-2 as a visiting squad. Up next, the Chippewas face a non-Division I foe in Marygrove before beginning Mid-American Conference play against Miami-Ohio.
Including the loss to Central Michigan, the Gamecocks have dropped three of their last four games. Their most recent letdown may have been the worst of the season as they were trampled by a 4-4 Dartmouth squad (76-46). The recent losing trend has the Gamecocks at 4-8 overall, although they are 3-1 at home. Jacksonville State will mix it up in the British Virgin Islands Tournament this weekend beginning against Arkansas-Little Rock.
Other than Chris Fowler (20 points), the Chippewas had real issues finding any success on offense against Dayton. CMU hit on just 39.3 percent of its field goal attempts, while the Flyers knocked down 50.9 percent. The Chippewas were also outrebounded by a hefty margin (42-27).
Fowler (17.2 ppg, 5.1 apg) consistently does the heavy lifting for the Chippewas at the offensive end of the floor. Fowler is one of only two double- digit scorers on the roster, and he also leads the team in assists. Fowler has scored at least 20 points in four of the last five games, and in six contests overall. John Simons (11.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg) lends a hand as a scorer, as well as being the team's top rebounders. Simons also has great range for a 6-foot-8 forward, as he connects on nearly 35 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. As a team, the Chippewas are netting 73.3 points per game while shooting just 43.6 percent from the field.
It was also a miserable night at the offensive end for the Gamecocks in their last outing, as they hit just 30.4 percent of their attempts from the field with Darion Rackley leading the way with a mere seven points. JSU was also doubled up on the boards (46-23).
Although the Gamecocks were horrendous against Dartmouth, it is not as if they have been lighting up the scoreboard the rest of the season. Jacksonville State is netting just 65.9 points per game and shooting a shade below 42 percent from the field. Rackley (12 ppg) and Brian Williams (10.5 ppg) are the top scoring options for a club that is light on potent scoring threats. Rackley and Williams are each connecting on less than 40 percent of their field goal attempts. D.J. Felder (7.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg) and Jamal Hunter (5.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg) anchor the team in the paint.
Fowler is hands down the best player that will be on the court in this one, and he alone could be enough to lead the Chippewas to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 67, Jacksonville State 63
12/17 10:34:30 ET