MAC Basketball: January 9th Preview

    
January 9th, 2007

Ball State (4-10, 0-1 MAC) at Western Michigan (5-9, 0-1 MAC), 7 p.m.

• Western Michigan and Ball State will look to even their record as the Cardinals travel to Kalamazoo, Mich. to take on the Broncos at 7 p.m. Both Ball State and Western Michigan are coming off last-second losses on Saturday against Toledo and Northern Illinois, respectively. Tuesday’s game will be the 104th meeting in the all-time series between Ball State and Western Michigan. Ball State leads the series 53-50, however WMU swept the season series a year ago winning 68-59 in Kalamazoo and 62-56 in Muncie

• Head coach Steve Hawkins has not lost a MAC home opener in each of his first three seasons at the helm and WMU is 39-20 all-time in its MAC home opener. Joe Reitz normally can’t wait to see the Cardinals line up across the court. In four career games against Ball State, Reitz is averaging 18.3 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .627 from the field and hitting 46-of-56 free throws (.821).

• Peyton Stovall scored a season-high 22 points Dec. 19 vs. Temple, including a season-high five three-point field goals. The long-range shooting effort was one short of his career-high for three-pointers in a game (6 on two occasions). He owns a team-best 20 three-point field goals this season. He has hit 102 threes in his career and needs just one more to climb into BSU’s all-time top 10 for career three-point field goals made. In Ball State’s last five games, Stovall is averaging 13.6 points per game, shooting 59 percent from the floor (23-of-39) and 52 percent from three-point range (13-of-25)

Toledo (5-8, 1-0 MAC) at Central Michigan (6-7, 1-0 MAC), 7 p.m.

• Central Michigan will look to start MAC play 2-0 for the first time since 1991-92 when the Chippewas host the Toledo Rockets. Tipoff in Rose Arena is set for 7 p.m. CMU defeated Eastern Michigan to start conference play, while Toledo won its MAC opener with a buzzer beater at Ball State on Saturday. Toledo leads the all-time series, 48-26. The Rockets have won seven straight meetings.

• The Chippewas have won two straight and are looking to put together their first three-game winning streak since winning seven in a row at the end of the 2003 MAC championship season before losing to Duke in the NCAAs. CMU’s current consecutive wins have both been on the road for the first back-to-back road wins since 2003. CMU leads the MAC and ranks 35th nationally in free throw percentage at .736. The Chippewas have shot better than .750 in five straight games.

• The last time UT opened its MAC season with two road games the Rockets came away with two victories. In 2001-02, UT posted wins at Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan on its way to an 11-7 conference campaign. After winning on Saturday at Ball State, the Rockets have the chance to do the same this season. The Rockets enter Tuesday’s game at Central Michigan with an eight-game conference win streak dating back to last season.

Northern Illinois (4-9, 1-0 MAC) at Eastern Michigan (5-9, 0-1 MAC), 7 p.m.

• Eastern Michigan continues Mid-American Conference play against West Division rival Northern Illinois for the final game of a five-game home stretch in the Convocation Center. The Eagles enter the game after a 74-68 set back against in-state rival Central Michigan, while Northern Illinois enters tonight’s game after defeating Western Michigan, 70-68. This will be the 65th all-time meeting between the two schools, with NIU leading the series, 41-23. The Huskies swept the series last season winning, 67-55, at the Convocation Center Jan. 29, 2006 and 94-61 at the NIU Convocation Center, Feb. 26, 2006.

• EMU ranks fifth in the MAC in three-point field goal percentage hitting 103-of-274 attempts. Junior Jesse Bunkley and freshman Devon Dumes have established themselves as the go to guys from three-point range. So far, Bunkley has connected on 31-of-79 tries, while Dumes has hit 22-of-69 attempts. Sophomore Carlos Medlock and Bunkley led the Eagles in scoring averaging 11.3 and 10.5 ppg respectively. Medlock also ranks 21st in the MAC in scoring while Bunkley is 26th.

• Led by a career-high four three-pointers from senior guard Mike McKinney, NIU knocked down a team-season high 12 treys in the Huskies' 70-68 victory over Western Michigan, including shooting 72.7% (8-for-11) in the second half from beyond the arc. Junior forward Shaun Logan who had made just two of his 16 three-point attempts entering the contest, converted 3-of-5 of his long range shots.

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