Western Michigan (5-4) at Drake (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 18, 8:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Drake Knapp Center (7,002) -- Des Moines, Iowa. Television: None. Home Record: WMU 3-1, Drake 2-1. Away Record: WMU 0-3, Drake 2-1. Neutral Record: WMU 2-0, Drake 2-1. Conference Record: WMU 0-0, Drake 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Western Michigan shoots for its first true road win of 2013-14 tonight, as the Broncos clash with the Drake Bulldogs in non-conference play at the Knapp Center.
The Broncos, winless in three road dates thus far, suffered one of those setback on Sunday when they took a tumble against Missouri by a score of 66-60. The defeat was the second overall for the team, and dropped it to just one game over .500 at the moment.
As for the Bulldogs, they too are coming off a loss after bowing to New Mexico State in overtime on Saturday night, 81-69, at home. Like Western Michigan, Drake has also fallen in two straight, but prior to the minor slide the team had lost just once in seven games to begin the campaign.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the hardwood.
Against a nationally-ranked and undefeated Missouri squad the Broncos have it their best shot over the weekend but came up just short in the six-point decision. David Brown was the top scorer for the visitors with 18 points, but he shot only 5-of-18 from the floor, including 1-of-10 behind the 3-point line. Shayne Whittington logged a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, one rebound behind team leader Taylor Perry, while Connar Tava tacked on 10 points for a group that shot just 30.0 percent from the floor overall and 5-of-24 (.208) on the perimeter.
Brown, who has at least held a share of the scoring lead for the Broncos a total of seven times this season, heads the scoring list overall with 19.9 ppg, although he is shooting a disappointing 37.3 percent from the field and an even more dismal 22.2 percent beyond the arc. Whittington accounts for 15.9 ppg and 10.9 rpg, but for someone who performs so well in the paint, it doesn't make sense that he's even taken 14 shots from 3-point range, making only two attempts.
Drake trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half against New Mexico State on Saturday, yet somehow the Bulldogs fought back and took the meeting to overtime. Unfortunately, the hosts ran out of gas in the extra session, scoring a mere two points in the five-minutes session, en route to the double- digit loss. Richard Carter was tops in scoring for the Bulldogs with 21 points, followed by Jordan Daniels and Chris Caird with 18 and 13, respectively, while Jacob Enevold responded with a game-high 13 rebounds, but that didn't make up for his 1-of-8 shooting from the floor.
Carter has been pouring in the points for the Bulldogs this season, posting a team-best 20.3 ppg, with a good portion of those points coming at the free- throw line where he has connected on 50-of-61 opportunities. The rest of the team has combined to shoot only 85-of-121 at the charity stripe and yet the Bulldogs and their 74.2 percent accuracy are head and shoulders above the competition which comes in at only 63.6 percent at the moment.
The fact that the Broncos put up such a strong fight on the road against a nationally-ranked opponent is certainly encouraging, but one has to wonder how much of a let-down they will have after such a quick turn-around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Drake 70, Western Michigan 64
12/18 10:35:25 ET