Central Michigan (4-3) at Charlotte (8-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 8, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (9,105) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 2-1, Charlotte 4-0. Away Record: CMU 0-1, Charlotte 1-0. Neutral Record: CMU 2-1, Charlotte 3-0. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, Charlotte 0-0. Series Record: Charlotte leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Charlotte 49ers will try to stay perfect as the Central Michigan Chippewas invade Halton Arena for non-conference action.
Charlotte is off to an 8-0 start for the first time in school history. The 49ers are coming off of a thrilling 73-69 decision over their rival Davidson Wildcats in a game that went back-and-forth until the very end. Coach Alan Major guided the team through the Great Alaska Shootout and also to a 12-point win over East Carolina. Charlotte is netting 70.6 ppg on the offensive end this season while holding its opposition to only 59.2 ppg on 36.1 percent shooting from the field.
The Chippewas nearly blew a 20-point advantage on the scoreboard, but managed to hang on for a 66-64 victory over Niagara on Sunday. CMU's win improved it to 4-3 with its losses coming from bouts with Iowa (73-61), Utah (67-51), and Bradley (82-65). Three of the team's four wins have come over Division I opponents, all of which were by four points or fewer. Coach Keno Davis is in his first season with the program. His squad is scoring only 61.7 ppg, while allowing foes to score 65 ppg.
Charlotte won the only meeting in the series, 77-75 in double-overtime last year in Mount Pleasant.
Central Michigan's youth was apparent as it allowed its huge lead to slip away to the Purple Eagles. The Chippewas came out of the gate hot and knocked down 50 percent of their field goals in the opening period to take a 12-point lead into the break. Niagara took control in the second half and held a five-point lead with 5:40 left to play before Chris Fowler and Kyle Randall put CMU back on top six combined makes at the charity stripe in the final 1:32. Randall finished with a career-high 24 points to lead the squad while John Simons and Fowler scored 12 and 11 points, respectively. Randall (14 ppg) is the only player on the team with a double-digit scoring average. Simons is second with eight ppg.
The 49ers turned to their sophomore point guard Pierra Henry down the stretch versus the Wildcats. Henry scored the team's last six points to finish with 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and four steals. The team finished with 12 more field goal attempts than Davidson and converted 13-of-18 at the free-throw line to secure the decision. Senior forward Chris Braswell paced the team with 15 points in 20 minutes of relief work. Braswell is leading the squad with 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest. Terrence Williams is second on the squad with 10.1 ppg.
The 49ers are playing at a very high level right now. Davis will really need to have his young bunch focused to pull off the upset. CMU lacks the interior defenders to keep Braswell from getting too many easy buckets, which will give the 49ers the upperhand.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Charlotte 68. Central Michigan 56
12/08 10:33:00 ET