Eastern Michigan (6-3) at Oakland (3-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 21, 1 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Athletics Center O'rena (3,000) -- Rochester, Michigan. Television: HLN. Home Record: EMU 6-1, Oakland 3-1. Away Record: EMU 0-2, Oakland 0-6. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, Oakland 0-2. Conference Record: EMU 0-0, Oakland 0-0. Series Record: Eastern Michigan leads, 8-5.
GAME NOTES: The Oakland Golden Grizzlies aim to remain unbeaten at the O'rena this season, as they face the Eastern Michigan Eagles in a non-conference contest this afternoon.
The Golden Grizzlies snapped a two-game skid with a 90-75 home win over Illinois State on Monday. Travis Bader recorded a double-double consisting of 21 points and 11 rebounds. Bader connected on 4-of-11 field goal tries for Oakland. Corey Petros (18 points, 12 rebounds) also finished with a double- double. Tommie McCune added 16 points before fouling out and Duke Mondy and Kahlil Felder each netted 12 as all five starters scored in double figures.
The Golden Grizzlies have won 62 of their last 71 games inside the O'rena. Additionally, Oakland's defense has been playing well at home. The Golden Grizzlies are holding opponents to 36.6 percent shooting inside the O'rena. Oakland is 32-12 all-time during the month of December at home.
The problem for Oakland has been the inside play. The Golden Grizzlies have been outrebounded in 10-of-12 games this season. When Oakland outrebounded Illinois State, 44-29, it marked the first time all season that the Golden Grizzlies held an advantage on the glass against a Division I team. Bader and Mondy have proven to be a powerful backcourt tandem thus far. Bader (20.0 ppg) and Mondy (12.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg) are among the statistical leaders. Center Corey Petros (12.4 ppg, 7.7 rpg) leads the team in rebounding. Petros, sophomore transfer McCune and freshman Kahlil Felder are also key contributors to an offense that averages just under 70 points a contest.
Eastern Michigan starts a stretch of three straight road games that could plunge the Eagles to the .500 mark by the end of the calendar year. After today's game, the Eagles play at Duke a week later and then versus Syracuse on Dec. 31. The Eagles haven't played since 11 days ago when they snapped a three-game skid with a 67-58 win over Green Bay. Raven Lee put up 17 points. Karrington Ward recorded 13 points and three steals. Mike Tally and Da'Shonte Riley scored 11 points apiece, with Riley also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds.
The Eagles are allowing only 63.8 points per game, which is nearly 12 points less than the Golden Grizzlies. Eastern Michigan is tops in the Mid-American Conference in several categories, including field goal percentage defense (36.5 percent) 3-point shooting percentage defense (27.8 percent), and blocked shots (7.9 bpg). Ward (16.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Lee (13.3 ppg) are the only two players scoring in double figures. Da'Shonte Riley leads the conference in blocks, averaging 3.9 per game.
Last season, Oakland beat the Eagles, 59-57. This is the start of a pair of games in as many days for the Golden Grizzlies, who host Robert Morris on Sunday. If Oakland can limit Ward from beyond the arc, the Golden Grizzlies may remain unbeaten at the O'rena this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oakland 73, Eastern Michigan 70
12/21 10:31:15 ET