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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 24, 6:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) -- Salt Lake City, Utah. Television: None. Home Record: Idaho State 0-0, CMU 1-0. Away Record: Idaho State 0-3, CMU 0-1. Neutral Record: Idaho State 0-1, CMU 1-1. Conference Record: Idaho State 0-0, CMU 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Idaho State Bengals and the Central Michigan Chippewas will collide on Saturday as part of the Utah Thanksgiving Tournament at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
It has been a rough start to the season for Idaho State which has still yet to get in the win column through its first four games. The Bengals dropped a 60-45 decision to Wright State in its second game of the tournament after taking a 57-46 defeat to host Utah. Idaho State will play its home opener in its next game against Montana Western.
The Chippewas had a two-game win streak put to an end on Friday with a 67-51 loss to host Utah. In the first game of the tournament, Central Michigan held off Wright State and earned a 59-55 win. The Chippewas are now an even 2-2 overall. A pair of home games await the Chippewas at the end of this tournament with the first against Bradley on Wednesday.
This will mark the first time these two programs have ever been matched up.
Central Michigan really struggled to get itself in an offensive rhythm against Utah. It wasn't for lack of trying, especially from beyond the arc where the Chippewas attempted 31 shots, but only hit eight. Overall Central Michigan connected on 29.8 percent of its field goal attempts. Central Michigan did play disciplined in the game with only six turnovers. All 11 players that got on the court scored for Central Michigan but Derrick Richardson was the lead scorer with just 10 points.
It wasn't out of the ordinary for Central Michigan to struggle with its shot. The Chippewas are connecting on just 38.1 percent of their field goals overall this season and scoring just 61.8 points per game. The reason the Chippewas have remained competitive is its pressure on defense where it has kept teams from getting out to massive leads by allowing 64.2 points per game. With such a minimal offensive output overall, no scorer has risen to very prolific levels. Kyle Randall (11.8 ppg) is the lone player scoring in double figures while five other players are scoring at least six points per game. Richardson (8.5 ppg) is the second leading scorer, but has done so off the bench. Richardson is shooting at a 52.6 percent clip as well which is the best mark on the squad.
Yet another poor offensive showing doomed Idaho State on Friday. The Bengals managed only nine total field goals in the game and shot just 30.0 percent from the floor in the 15-point loss to Wright State. Almost half of the team's points actually came from the free-throw line where the Bengals were successful on 22-of-27 shots. The Bengals also turned the ball over 17 times and were outscored by a massive 34-6 margin on points in the paint. Andre Hatchett scored 14 points and was the only player in double figures.
The Bengals' 0-4 start has been dismal not just from a wins and losses standpoint but from an overall production one. Idaho State is scoring just 46.8 points per game which is the worst mark in the entire nation. The Bengals are also only shooting a t a 35.6 percent clip while bringing in just 26.0 rebounds per game, both of which are in the bottom 10 in the country. Hatchett's 14 points were by far a season high as he is averaging just 3.2 per game. Melvin Morgan (14.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.5 apg) is more often the team's scoring leader as well as one of the team's best rebounders.
Not being able to score is a real problem and both of these teams have had to deal with that. However Central Michigan's scoring woes are nothing compared to Idaho State's.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Central Michigan 64, Idaho State 51
11/24 10:31:34 ET
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