Eastern Michigan (14-15) at Central Michigan (10-18)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, March 5, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: EMU 12-4, CMU 5-6. Away Record: EMU 2-11, CMU 2-11. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, CMU 3-1. Conference Record: EMU 7-7, CMU 3-11. Series Record: Central Michigan leads, 94-85.
GAME NOTES: Trying to record back-to-back wins for the first time since December, the Central Michigan Chippewas host the Eastern Michigan Eagles in Mid-American Conference play at McGuirk Arena on Tuesday night.
Tied for last place in the West Division of the MAC with Northern Illinois at a mere 3-11, the Chippewas were lucky to have the Huskies on their schedule this late in the campaign because it gave CMU a chance to snap a 10-game slide on Saturday night with a 69-50 victory on the road.
As for the Eagles, currently third in the division with a split of 14 league bouts, they too recently defeated NIU (53-41) last week and then followed that up with a 50-49 overtime triumph versus Western Michigan on Saturday.
EMU won the first matchup of the campaign, 58-52, at home back in the middle of January, which means the all-time series now favors the Chippewas by a count of 94-85.
A pair of free throws by J.R. Sims with under 30 seconds remaining in overtime where just what the Eagles needed on Saturday as they held on to defeat Western Michigan by a single point. Sims finished with just five points in 37 minutes of action, leaving the bulk of the scoring up to Glenn Bryant and Daylen Harrison who tallied 15 and 13 points, respectively, as the team survived 2-of-11 shooting beyond the arc and 6-of-11 at the free-throw line.
One of the weaker offensive squads in the MAC this season, Eastern Michigan generates a mere 56.6 ppg, but at least the defense has been making things interesting by holding the competition to only 59.0 ppg, based on 39.3 percent shooting from the floor and 29.3 percent behind the 3-point line. A mere 8- of-44 (.182) out on the perimeter so far this season, Bryant is second on the team in scoring with 10.5 ppg, trailing only Derek Thompson (10.6 ppg) who is playing just under 23 minutes per contest.
After shooting only 38.1 percent from the floor in the first half against NIU on Saturday, the Chippewas turned it around with 57.1 percent accuracy in order to cruise to the 19-point road win. Chris Fowler led all scorers with 16 points, adding eight assists, while Kyle Randall and John Simons chipped in with 14 and 10 points, respectively, for a team that was desperate to finally get back into the win column.
On a team that is producing a modest 67.5 ppg this season, Randall is the lone double-digit scorer for the group with 17.6 ppg, doing quite a bit of damage at the free-throw line (153-of-180) where he has made more shots than anyone else on the team has even attempted. Along with Blake Hibbitts (8.7 ppg) who has been primarily a reserve this season, Randall has made good on 112 3-point baskets for the Chippewas, the rest of the roster connecting on 110 shots beyond the arc.
The Chippewas are lucky to have had Northern Illinois on the schedule because the team's losing streak could have easily carried through to the end of the regular season. As it stands, CMU had better prepare for the worst again on Tuesday night.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 69, Central Michigan 61
03/05 10:44:04 ET