Central Michigan (5-3) at SIU Edwardsville (2-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 8 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Vadalabene Center (4,000) -- Edwardsville, Illinois. Television: None. Home Record: CMU 4-2, SIUE 2-1. Away Record: CMU 1-1, SIUE 0-3. Neutral Record: CMU 0-0, SIUE 0-2. Conference Record: CMU 0-0, SIUE 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between the Central Michigan Chippewas and the Cougars of SIU Edwardsville is set for tonight at the Vadalabene Center.
The Cougars have just two wins through eight games, but the good news is that both of them have come at home, giving them some level of confidence heading into this matchup. One of those triumphs took place earlier this week against Texas-Pan American in a 55-49 final, a decision that snapped a four-game slide.
As for the Chippewas, a team which won just twice through the first five games, they are currently enjoying a three-game win streak, thanks to a 66-61 triumph over Jacksonville State in the most recent outing a week ago.
After shooting a solid 52.0 percent from the field in the first half, the Chippewas led by only four points against Jacksonville State at the break. In the second half CMU took it up a notch with a sizzling 72.2 percent accuracy in order to secure the five-point win at home the last time out. Chris Fowler produced 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, followed by Braylon Rayson and John Simons with 11 and 10 points, respectively. A game with a total of just 22 personal fouls, CMU handled the visitors in the paint with a 26-19 rebounding edge and a 38-20 scoring advantage.
For a team scoring 76.2 ppg, thanks in large part to 79.4 percent accuracy at the free-throw line, the Chippewas are led by Fowler with his 16.1 ppg, his 40 assists also tops on a unit that has a total of 106 dishes through eight games. Simons checks in with 12.0 ppg and a team-best 6.5 rpg and yet he still challenges defenders out on the perimeter with his 38.7 percent accuracy beyond the arc.
The Cougars trailed by as many as 10 points in the game with UTPA, with the teams combining to make only 15 field goals in the first half, and even after converting just nine baskets over the last 20 minutes SIUE still came out on top. Christian Salecich accounted for 16 points for the Cougars, followed by Rozell Nunn with 15, the latter shooting a perfect 5-of-5 from the floor, including all four attempts from behind the 3-point line.
Despite shooting just 1-of-8 from the floor and finishing with six points against UTPA, Donivine Stewart is still the top scorer overall for the Cougars with his 13.0 ppg. In fact Stewart, who is also tops in assists with 32 over eight games, is the only player in double figures for the group as he shoots 81.3 percent at the free-throw line. Spreading the wealth on offense, SIUE is generating 72.5 ppg, but at the same time giving up 81.8 ppg.
SIUE only knows how to win at home apparently, but that in no way means that the team is destined to come out victorious in this particular meeting. With a defense that is beyond porous, expect to see the Cougars on the losing end yet again.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 79, SIU Edwardsville 66
12/07 10:35:02 ET