Riding three-game skid, CMU basketball travels to red-hot Akron Tuesday
The men’s basketball team faces long odds as it travels to Akron for a game at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Central Michigan has lost four-straight games, while the Zips have won their last 13.
In Akron’s last game Saturday, it defeated Ohio, a 2012 Sweet 16 team, to take hold of first place in the Mid-American Conference.
The Zips are most difficult to beat at home, boasting an 11-0 record at James A. Rhodes Arena. This is bad news for CMU, which is 1-7 on the road.
Akron is led by a group of six upperclassmen who are the team’s top six scorers.
Senior center Zeke Marshall and junior forward Demetrius Treadwell are both averaging double figures in points per game with 13 and 10.8, respectively.
Marshall is known for blocking shots as well, with 3.65 per game, the fifth best average in the country.
Marshall will look to go 4-0 against the Chippewas in his career. CMU is 13-27 against Akron all-time, with its last win in 2008.
CMU started the season with a 7-6 non-conference record, but it has gone downhill since.
They are 2-6 in the conference with wins over Ball State and Bowling Green.
“We just need to get better, stay focused and keep coming out working hard every day. That's what we strive to do,” senior guard Kyle Randall said after Saturday's loss to Miami. “You want to be playing your best basketball in March.”
Their weaknesses lies in field goal percentage offense and defense.
CMU allows teams to make 46.9 percent their shots, 324th in the nation.
In field goal percentage offense, it ranks 307th, making 40 percent of their shots.
“We need to make more shots and get more defensive stops,” Randall said. “It’s something we need to keep getting better at.”
Head coach Keno Davis decided to bench sophomore guard Austin Keel Saturday and start freshman guard Derrick Richardson Jr.
He did not say if the lineup would remain the same Tuesday.
“I think we will look at different guys as we continue the season,” Davis said. “We are trying to put the best starting lineup together to get us off to a good start.”
Richardson did not score any points in 19 minutes of play, but provided help at what he does best - defense.
Fowler closing in on record
Freshman guard Chris Fowler needs eight assists against Akron to break the freshman record, which is 115.
“My role is to get the guys involved,” Fowler said. “If that’s the case and I’m that close to the record, I got to give all the credit to my teammates that I have because you can’t get an assist if they don’t make the shot.”
Setting his teammates up to score is not the only area where he is helping CMU.
He is averaging 6.4 points per game and leads the Chippewas in steals with 27 for the season.