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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Convocation Center (8,800) -- Ypsilanti, Michigan. Television: None. Home Record: UTA 2-1, EMU 4-0. Away Record: UTA 0-3, EMU 0-0. Neutral Record: UTA 0-0, EMU 0-0. Conference Record: UTA 0-0, EMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Eastern Michigan Eagles will attempt to close out their season-opening, five-game homestand unbeaten, as they take on the Texas- Arlington Mavericks at the Convocation Center on Saturday night.
After a solid season in 2012-13 (19-14), UTA hasn't gotten the new campaign off to the start it had hoped for, as it sits with a 2-4 record, including an 0-3 ledger away from home. The Mavericks are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, with their most recent setback coming on Thursday night at Robert Morris, 88-81.
EMU, on the other hand, has kicked off the new season in excellent fashion, as it has started 4-0 for the first time since 1996-97. The Eagles overcame an early deficit to Cleveland State in their latest bout on Monday night to capture an 81-69 victory.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between UTA and EMU on the hardwood.
The Mavericks dug themselves a big hole less than three in minutes into their last contest, as they were down 14-0, and while they were able to climb back to tie the game with 6:20 left on a Reger Dowell 3-pointer, they were never able to take the lead. Dowell shot 9-of-22 from the field for 26 points, giving him 20 or more points in every game this season. Jamel Outler was solid off the bench with 15 points, Brandon Edwards tallied a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Vincent Dillard (11 points) and Lonnie McClanahan (10 points) also impressed in the balanced effort.
UTA has scored plenty of points this season (86.0 ppg), but its up-tempo style leaves it vulnerable at the defensive end, as opponents score 88.5 points per game. Dowell (25.0 ppg) is the nation's 12th-leading scorer, and Edwards (17.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg) is an integral low-post presence. McClanahan (11.2 ppg) and Dillard (11.0 ppg) are also off to good starts.
EMU had a back-and-forth battle with Cleveland State earlier in the week, but with the score tied at 47-47 with 13 minutes left, it ripped off a 12-0 run to effectively put the contest away. The Eagles shot a lofty 54.2 percent from the field and had a busy night from the foul line (24-of-39), and they were paced by a career night from Karrington Ward, who went 9-of-10 from the floor (3-of-3 from beyond the arc) on his way to 28 points. Glenn Bryant tallied 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks in a reserve role, while Mike Talley and Daylen Harrison scored nine points apiece.
The Eagles' success this season has been a true team effort, as they've played well at both the offensive (80.5 ppg) and defensive (57.0 ppg) ends of the court, while boasting a +5.7 turnover margin. Ward (20.0 ppg) has drained 64.7 percent of his field goal attempts and also tears down a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. Raven Lee (13.0 ppg) and Bryant (12.3 ppg) average double figures as well, while Da'Shonte Riley (5.5 ppg) has blocked 22 shots.
EMU's effort in the early going has raised some eyebrows, and playing the final game of the homestand, its well-balanced effort should be more than enough to dismiss an underachieving Mavericks squad.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Eastern Michigan 85, Texas-Arlington 72
11/23 10:35:18 ET