Western Michigan (9-5) at Eastern Michigan (9-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 14, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Convocation Center (8,824) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: WMU 6-1, EMU 7-1. Away Record: WMU 1-4, EMU 2-5. Neutral Record: WMU 2-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: WMU 2-0, EMU 1-1. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 56-48.
GAME NOTES: The Western Michigan Broncos bring a four-game win streak into Tuesday night's Mid-American Conference clash with the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
David Brown sank a free throw in the final seconds of overtime to lift Western Michigan to a 78-77 victory over Miami-Ohio on Saturday. The win was the second in as many chances in league play for the Broncos, who have pushed themselves to 9-5 overall with the recent string of success. They will return home for a matchup with Bowling Green next.
Eastern Michigan has not had as much success in its last four games, which it has split. That has included an uneven opening against MAC competition with a 56-51 win over Bowling Green, followed by a 76-66 loss to Buffalo. Both of those games were on the road for the Eagles, who are 2-5 away from home this season, but 7-1 as hosts. They will visit Central Michigan this Saturday before beginning a three-game homestand.
After splitting the season series last season, Western Michigan ran past Eastern Michigan with a 70-55 victory in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament. As a result, the Broncos lead the all-time series, 56-48.
Brown finished with 25 points and Connar Tava added 22 in Western Michigan's win over Miami-Ohio. The Broncos shot a sterling 56.1 percent from the floor and despite having only a single field goal in the extra session, made 11- of-13 free-throws in the period to claim the victory.
The Broncos are one of the more efficient offensive teams in the MAC this season, connecting on 45.5 percent of their shots from the floor, which ranks second in the league. They also put forth a strong defensive effort, limiting foes to 67.5 ppg and 40.4 percent shooting. Brown (18.9 ppg) is the leading scorer in the conference and has been in double figures in every game this season, although he did not surpass 15 points in the three games prior to facing Miami-Ohio. Shayne Whittington (14.4 ppg, 8.9 rpg) provides additional scoring, while ranking third in the MAC in rebounds. Connar Tava (13.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg) is shooting a MAC-best 64.3 percent from the field.
Glenn Bryant finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead to four players in double figures for Eastern Michigan, but a 35.3 percent shooting effort over the final 20 minutes doomed the Eagles against Buffalo. EMU was also outscored from beyond the arc, 24-9.
Since they are not a team that blows opponents away with their offensive production (69.9 ppg, .437 FG percentage), the Eagles rely heavily on controlling the tempo on defense. They have had success in that area, ranking ninth in the country in opponent field goal percentage (.375). Bryant (10.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg) is one of three players on the roster averaging in double figures. Karrington Ward (13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg) is the leader of that trio, as well as the team's best rebounder. Raven Lee (11.3 ppg) is another reliable option, while DaShonte Riley (5.5 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.9 bpg) is second in the conference in blocks. Bryant (2.1 bpg) ranks fifth.
If Bryant and Riley can keep the Broncos from getting many chances around the basket, the Eagles have a real shot to keep Western Michigan from its normal rate of efficiency, which could lead to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 69, Western Michigan 65
01/14 10:33:39 ET