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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: EMU 9-2, WMU 5-1. Away Record: EMU 0-7, WMU 3-6. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, WMU 2-0. Conference Record: EMU 2-2, WMU 2-2. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 54-47
GAME NOTES: State rivals collide for the 102nd time in history when the Western Michigan Broncos take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles in a Mid-American Conference tilt at University Arena on Wednesday evening.
WMU holds the all-time series edge, 54-47. EMU and WMU first met during the 1914-15 campaign. Last season, the Eagles won a pair of contests with the Broncos. Both are 2-2 in MAC play, putting them into the four-way tie for first place in the West Division with Central Michigan and Toledo.
The Eagles are 9-9 on the campaign after reeling off two straight wins at home over Central Michigan and Miami-Ohio. Coach Rob Murphy's team comes into this one with zero wins in seven true road games this season. Senior guard Derek Thompson is leading the way offensively, tallying 11.7 points per game. Pacing the Eagles in rebounding is junior center Da'Shonte Riley who is posting 6.2 boards and 2.3 blocks per game.
While EMU just returned to the .500 mark, it is leading the MAC in scoring defense at just 61.1 ppg. The Eagles' defensive prowess was on display their last time out, as they held Miami to 58 points on 43.1 percent shooting. Their own offensive output was much better, as they went 22-of-43 from the floor and added 13 points at the charity stripe. Thompson netted a team-best 16 points, Glenn Bryant added 13 points and six rebounds, and Jalen Ross tallied eight points and the same numbers of assists.
Coach Steve Hawkins and his Broncos have completed back-to-back routs of Toledo (79-56) and Northern Illinois (71-34) to rise to a 10-7 overall record. The Broncos shot 54 percent from the floor and outrebounded the Huskies 42-27 to help them overcome 19 turnovers. WMU is ranked in the top half of the MAC in both scoring offense (66.1) and scoring defense (62.5). The trio of Nate Hutcheson, Shayne Whittington, and Darius Paul produce around 11 points per game each, while combining for 19.9 rpg.
Whittington has really stepped up his play of late. The junior center was one point shy of recording his third double-double in a row on Saturday, finishing with 10 rebounds, and three blocks to push the Broncos past NIU. After netting 15 against Toledo, David Brown scored 13 points to lead WMU's balanced attack. The Broncos did a tremendous job defensively, holding the Huskies to a mere 20 percent shooting from the floor including a 4-of-22 mark from beyond the arc.
WMU's only loss at home this year came to the talented Ohio Bobcats by just two points. EMU's poor performances away from home do not bode well for the Eagles as they enter University Arena.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 64, Eastern Michigan 58
01/23 10:34:39 ET