Preview: Ohio Looks To Start MAC Season 7-0

By
Matthew Doyle

Dateline
Updated Tue, Jan 29, 2013 11:02 am
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The Northern Illinois vs. Eastern Michigan game received high publicity last Saturday, not for their spectacular play but for their horrific shooting percentages.

Northern Illinois set an NCAA record with four points at halftime and were on pace to be shooting the most three-point shots without a make until Daveon Balls hit a three late in the game. They were the talk of college basketball, shooting 13.1% from the field and 3% from three.

As bad as the Huskies were from the field, Eastern Michigan wasn’t much better. They shot a 37.1% field goal percentage and 28.6% from deep. They also committed 15 turnovers, while Northern Illinois only had nine.

The Eagles look to keep their winning ways alive this Wednesday, as they ride their 42-25 victory to Athens, Oh. to take on the Bobcats. Ohio, on the other hand, is coming off a 69-68 win over Kent State and is riding a seven-game winning streak.

The only player to score in double-digits in Saturday’s game was Eastern Michigan’s Glenn Bryant, who finished the day with 10 points and four rebounds. The 6-foot-8 forward has been averaging 10.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in his first season with the Eagles.

The Arkansas transfer ranks in the top 30 of the Mid-American Conference with 9.0 points per game against MAC opponents. In his past four games, he has averaged 11.25 points and 4.5 rebounds.

Eastern Michigan is ranked 339th in the nation with 56.9 points a game with their leading scorer coming off the bench in Derek Thompson. The 6-foot-3 guard has been averaging 23.7 minutes off the bench and is averaging a career-high 11.2 points per game.

Thompson scored a season-high of 22 this season against Eastern Illinois and has scored 16-plus on six occasions. His production in conference play has declined, though. In six MAC games, he’s shooting 29.8% (17/57) from the field, but has been keeping his scoring up with 10.8 points a game.

The Eagles feature two players whose fathers were both drafted by NBA teams in the 1980s. Freshman Jalen Ross’ father, Frank, was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round in 1987, and junior Daylen Harrison’s father, Chris, was chosen by Utah in the sixth round of the 1984 draft. Both players play quality minutes for coach Rob Murphy.

Harrison leads the team in minutes and rebounds with averages of 28.8 and 5.2, respectively. He also contributes 9.7 points per game.

Ross leads the team in assists with 3.2 per game and is eighth in the MAC in assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.2.

No team in the MAC can scare the Eagles after the pre-conference schedule they played this season. It featured two top ten teams in Syracuse and Michigan and the reigning National Champions in Kentucky. They lost by a combined 267-140 – an average deficit of 42.3 points.

They are only averaging 54.3 points per game in conference play (11th in the MAC) while Ohio is averaging 74.5 a game (1st in the MAC).

Ohio will welcome the Eagles to the Convocation Center Wednesday. The Bobcats will be looking to become 7-0 in the MAC for the first time since the 1960-61 season. Eastern Michigan is looking for their fourth win in the conference and to boost their overall and MAC records above .500. Tipoff is at 7 p.m.

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