Miami-Ohio (7-12) at Central Michigan (9-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: WCMU. Home Record: Miami 5-5, CMU 5-3. Away Record: Miami 2-7, CMU 1-7. Neutral Record: Miami 0-0, CMU 3-1. Conference Record: Miami 2-5, CMU 2-5. Series Record: Miami-Ohio leads, 48-17.
GAME NOTES: Something has to give as the Miami-Ohio RedHawks and Central Michigan Chippewas square off at McGuirk Arena in a Mid-American Conference matchup.
Both sides come into the 66th meeting in history on losing streaks. Miami holds a 48-17 all-time series lead over the Chippewas after winning the last three encounters. Last season, the RedHawks coasted to a 69-50 victory at home over CMU on Feb. 11, 2012.
The RedHawks suffered their third consecutive loss on the Wednesday as they fell 72-68 to Western Michigan to drop to a disappointing 2-5 MAC record. Coach John Cooper's unit held the lead for the opening half of the contest, but the Broncos shot 60 percent from the field after of the break to win the final 20 minutes by seven points. Miami finished 22-of-57 (38.6 percent) from the field and 5-of-15 from beyond the arc. Will Felder led the team with 17 and 14 rebounds, but the RedHawks were not able to overcome their 19 turnovers or 11 misses at the charity stripe.
Miami is averaging 5.3 points less than its opposition this season. The RedHawks are one of the most generous teams in the MAC, allowing 70.4 ppg on 48.2 percent shooting from the field. Allen Roberts is leading Miami with 12.4, but the junior guard is in a slump. Roberts has gone 12-of-40 (30 percent) from the field over his past four games. Felder (11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and freshman guard Reggie Johnson (9.2 ppg) are both capable of filling it up on occasion as well.
Keno Davis and his Chippewas are riding a three-game slide into this one after being defeated on the road, 91-73, by Buffalo on Wednesday. CMU was dominated inside in the setback. The Bulls held a sizeable, 39-22 edge in total rebounds and outscored CMU, 42-30, in the paint to capture the victory. The pair of setbacks dropped the Chippewas two games below the .500 mark on the season including its 2-5 mark in MAC action. Kyle Randall paced the team in the losing effort with 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field, while Blake Hibbitts chimed in with 17 points off the bench.
After shooting just 29.8 percent against WMU a game earlier, the Chippewas improved to connect on 40.4 percent of their field goal tries against the Bulls on Wednesday. However, Buffalo shot 57.7 percent from the field and assisted 21 of its 30 made field goals. Randall is the third-leading scorer in the conference at 16.7 ppg, but Hibbitts is a far ways away in second place on the team at 8.5 ppg. Chris Fowler has shown the ability to run the offense and distribute effectively, as he deals out 5.1 assists per contest and records 1.4 steals per contest as well. On the season, the Chippewas are weak on both ends of the court with a scoring offense of 67.1 ppg against their scoring defense of 70.6 ppg.
Miami has been able to take the lead into the intermission in each of its last two games, but it has not shown the ability to finish the job. CMU is a much better team on its own floor and Randall's scoring ability along with the steadily improving Hibbitts should be enough to lift the hosts to a win.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 74, Miami-Ohio 65
02/02 10:35:24 ET