Men's basketball travels to EMU, looks to keep pace with Toledo

Senior Guard Larry Austin Jr. talks to the coaching staff on Dec. 22 at McGuirk Arena.

Coming off a hard fought victory over Ball State, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team is looking to extend its three-game winning streak against Eastern Michigan.

The Chippewas (19-8, 8-6 Mid-American Conference) will face the EMU (13-14, 7-7) at 7 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.

The last time these two teams met CMU came out on top in a thrilling 86-82 game at McGuirk Arena. Since then both teams have been playing well and have gone 4-2 in the games between the two matchups.

EMU is looking to capitalize on the momentum of its overtime victory over Western Michigan in its last contest. Both teams are battling near the top of the MAC West Division and with a win the Chippewas would be in position for a first place matchup against Toledo on Saturday.

Redshirt senior Paul Jackson, who was named MAC West Co-Player of the Week last week, will lead the Eagles. He averaged 19.5 points per game with six assists while helping the Eagles to two straight victories.

Central Michigan junior guard Kevin McKay will look to keep rolling after being named MAC West Co-Player of the Week. McKay had a double-double with 17 points and 19 rebounds in the last game against Ball State.

The Chippewas will hope that senior guard Shawn Roundtree Jr. will be available after missing most of the last game with an apparent head injury. 

He is averaging 16 points per game. If Roundtree were to miss more time the Chippewas would need other players to step up including senior guard Larry Austin Jr. who is averaging a team-high 17 points per game this season.

CMU enters the game averaging 80.1 points per game and is allowing 76.2 points per game. Eastern Michigan hopes to counter the Chippewa offense with stifling defense. 

The Eagles have allowed just 53 points per game over their last two, and on the season have allowed an average of 70.2 points per game. The EMU offense however is averaging just 66.3 points per game.

While at this point in the season no game can be considered a “must-win”, this game comes close. A win would provide CMU with a good position to get a top-four seed in the 2019 MAC Tournament. A top-four seed would guarantee the team a first round bye in the tournament.