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Akron (12-6) at Central Michigan (7-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday January 25, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McGuirk Arena (5,300) -- Mount Pleasant, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: Akron 7-1, CMU 5-4. Away Record: Akron 4-3, CMU 2-6. Neutral Record: Akron 1-2, CMU 0-0. Conference Record: Akron 4-1, CMU 0-5. Series Record: Akron leads, 28-13.
GAME NOTES: The East Division leading Akron Zips will try to maintain first place in the Mid-American Conference standings as they visit McGuirk Arena to take on the West Division's Central Michigan Chippewas on Saturday.
Akron earned its sixth victory in seven outings on Wednesday as it coasted to a 78-68 win over the Eastern Michigan Eagles in Ypsilanti. The Zips are 4-1 in MAC play including a 3-0 performance on the road. Although coach Keith Drambot's squad has lost just one of its five league games, it has outscored its MAC rivals by a mere 2.0 ppg. The Zips opened their game against the Eagles on a 20-3 run and led comfortably at the break, 39-19. EMU never got any closer than seven points after the break.
The Chippewas lost their fifth straight game on Wednesday as they were bested, 86-80, by Miami-Ohio at Millett Hall in Oxford. With the game tied at 50-50 with 12:55 to play, the RedHawks went on a 16-5 run to build a comfortable lead. The Chippewas were able to cut it to four in the final minute but the RedHawks hung on for the victory and kept CMU out of the win column in conference play. Coach Keno Davis's team will now return home where it has gone 5-4 this season.
Akron owns a 28-13 all-time lead in its series with CMU, which began in the 1938-39 season. The Zips have won six-straight and 13 of the last 14 encounters to take claim the commanding edge.
Last season during its run to a second consecutive regular season MAC Championship, Akron relied on the duo of Demetrius Treadwell and Zeke Marshall for leadership. With Marshall graduated, Treadwell became the undisputed general of the troops and paces the Zips with 13.7 ppg and 8.1 ppg. The senior forward was able to take a back seat to one of his teammates versus EMU as Jake Kretzer led the way with 25 points on 7-of-12 efficiency from 3-point range. Treadwell did his part as he added a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds to go along with five blocks. Quincy Diggs, who is second on the squad with 12.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg, finished with 14 points and five assists.
In their loss to the RedHawks, the Chippewas used a collective effort to keep the contest close. Chris Fowler led the team with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor, while Austin Keel added 13 points in just 20 minutes off the bench. John Simons scored 11 and also pulled down eight boards in 36 minutes of action. Braylon Rayson and Austin Stewart each chipped in with 10 points. Fowler has been a very efficient player throughout the campaign to pace CMU with 17.2 ppg, while hitting on 57.1 percent of his field-goal attempts. The 6-foot-1 sophomore guard is also handing out 5.2 apg.
The Chippewas have a few players capable of filling the basket on any given night, which should give them a fighting chance against the defending champions. However, their defense has been porous throughout the season, which is not a good sign considering out the Zips have played as of late. Akron is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation, which means CMU will have to focus on keeping the visitors off the glass to make an upset possible.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 70, Central Michigan 60
01/25 10:23:36 ET