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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 26, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Arena (5,421) -- Kalamazoo, Michigan. Television: WMUbroncos.com. Home Record: Oakland 0-0, WMU 1-1. Away Record: Oakland 0-5, WMU 0-1. Neutral Record: Oakland 0-1, WMU 2-0. Conference Record: Oakland 0-0, WMU 0-0. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 6-2.
GAMES NOTES: The Western Michigan Broncos begin the second half of a four-game homestand on Tuesday with a non-conference clash against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies at University Arena.
The Golden Grizzlies got their first bit of good news of the year four days ago when Duke Mondy was reinstated after a two-game suspension. However, Mondy was still off the court on Sunday when Oakland lost for the sixth time in as many games with a 68-62 setback against St. Francis-Brooklyn. Oakland has not played a single home game this season, but will be at the Athletics Center O'rena for seven of its next eight.
After posting a 2-1 mark during the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu, the Broncos returned to the mainland for a four-game homestand. The first two matchups of were split by the Broncos, who topped Alabama A&M (73-69) before falling to North Dakota State (83-74) last Wednesday.
This is the third straight season these teams have mixed it up on the hardwood. Western Michigan won the first two contests, including a 76-72 victory a year ago, and also leads the all-time series by a count of 6-2.
Travis Bader did everything he could to push Oakland to a win against St. Francis, but even his 30 points could not make up for the lack of offensive execution from the Golden Grizzlies. Oakland hit just 38.2 percent of its shots from the floor in the losing effort.
It is unclear whether Mondy will be back in the starting lineup on Tuesday, but if he is it could be a real boost to Oakland's stagnant offensive attack. Mondy scored 12.2 points per game last year and was also a strong passer (4.4 apg). He was limited against St. Francis with just two points over 21 minutes of play. Being able to score and move the ball is not something the Golden Grizzlies have excelled at this year, averaging only 64.2 points per game on less than 40 percent shooting. Bader (21.5 ppg) is the only reliable scorer on the roster and one of only two players netting 10 or more points per game. Corey Petros (10.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) is the only other player in double figures as he was on Sunday when he scored 13 points against St. Francis.
Western Michigan allowed 20 points off turnovers and was outscored, 44-32, in the paint in its recent loss to North Dakota State. The Broncos' inability to put up much of a fight on the interior was evident as they allowed their foes to net 58.5 percent of their shots from the field. David Brown did score 27 points in the contest, but he went just 1-of-9 from 3-point range.
Through five games, the Broncos are fighting to break even on both the scoreboard and in the standings. The Broncos own a favorable, albeit slim scoring margin (+0.4) by shooting at a 42.2 percent clip from the field to net just under 70 points per game. Brown (20.8 ppg) provides WMU with a 20-point scorer to rival Oakland's Bader. Brown has scored at least 20 points in three games this year, despite netting just 23.8 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Shayne Whittington (17.3 ppg, 12.7 rpg) has come on strong in the three games he has played as he is averaging a double-double. Whittington scored 16 points and pulled in nine rebounds the last time out, and Connar Tava (11.6 ppg) brings additional scoring depth to the table.
Until Mondy gets back into a rhythm, the Golden Grizzlies will continue to struggle offensively. That isn't likely to happen tonight on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Michigan 68, Oakland 61
11/26 10:35:06 ET