Eastern Michigan (7-6) at Massachusetts (9-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 5, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: William D. Mullins Memorial Center (9,493) -- Amherst, Massachusetts. Television: None. Home Record: EMU 7-1, UMass 3-1. Away Record: EMU 0-5, UMass 4-0. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, UMass 2-2. Conference Record: EMU 0-0, UMass 0-0. Series Record: Massachusetts leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Massachusetts Minutemen look to continue their success against Mid-American Conference foes as they host the Eastern Michigan Eagles for a non-conference bout at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center.
As part of the agreement to let the football team into the conference, UMass is required to play four MAC schools on the hardwood during its non-conference slate. So far so good for the Minutemen, as they clipped Miami-Ohio, 70-69, to improve to 3-0 against MAC programs on the season. The close victory over the RedHawks also extended the team's winning streak to six. UMass plays at a very fast pace that has led to 72.7 points per game on just 40.6 percent shooting from the field. The high tempo has not helped it on the defensive end, as opponents are generating 73.2 ppg on 41.8 percent shooting.
EMU's promising 5-1 start to the season has nearly been erased as its 90-38 loss to Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Wednesday dropped it to 7-6. The Eagles are winless on the road, where they are being outscored by an average margin of 32.4 points per game. EMU's offensive woes have yielded a very low scoring offense of 57.8 points per game, which is less than the 62.2 ppg it has allowed to its foes.
UMass earned a 68-61 victory overly EMU on Dec. 29, 1972 in the only previous meeting between these schools.
The Minutemen are being guided this season by junior Chaz Williams, who is generating team-highs of 15.6 points and 7.3 assists per contest. Jesse Morgan (14.8) and Terrell Vinson (12.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg) are also carrying double-digit scoring averages, but it was Raphiael Putney that stood out the last time UMass took the floor. Putney drilled four 3-pointers on his way to 20 points, which he accompanied with nine boards to help his squad to a one-point win over Miami-Ohio. Williams just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine assists and Morgan chipped in 12 points on 5-of-18 shooting from the field.
The Eagles shot just 24.2 percent from the field against Kentucky and Glenn Bryant scored 10 points to become the only player on the squad to reach double digits. Kentucky held a 52-27 advantage on the boards and forced 19 turnovers. Leading scorer Derek Thompson (11.4 ppg) had a forgettable performance with just four points on 2-of-10 shooting, while Daylen Harrison produced just five points after going 2-of-14.
The Eagles will fare a little better in this one. Still, the Minutemen should have little trouble creating distance on the scoreboard to complete a 2012-13 sweep of the MAC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Massachusetts 70, Eastern Michigan 56
01/05 10:45:16 ET