Bobcats looking to stay unbeaten in MAC against Eagles

In their last five home contests the Ohio men’s basketball team has averaged 86 points per game.

They will find it hard to score 86 points against their next conference opponent.

After two road wins against archrival Miami and Jim Christian’s former team Kent State, the Bobcats (15-5, 6-0 Mid-American Conference) will return to the Convocation Center to take on the Eastern Michigan Eagles (10-10, 3-3 MAC) on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.

Eastern Michigan comes to Athens on the back of a dominating defensive effort against Northern Illinois. They were able to hold the Huskies to 13 percent shooting (8-of-61) in a comfortable 42-25 win in Ypsilanti on Saturday.

For the Bobcats to win their eighth straight game, they will have to play the game at their pace, and not at Eastern Michigan’s. The Eagles like to slow the game down. They only average 57 points per game, which ranks 339 nationally. If Ohio can execute in transition, Eastern Michigan will find it hard to keep up with the high-flying Bobcats.

Ohio will need to contain senior guard Derek Thompson and junior forward Glenn Bryant. Thompson averages 11.2 points per game and 2.0 rebounds per game, while Bryant averages 10 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game. If Thompson and Bryant do not play well, Eastern Michigan will struggle to find other players who can take on more of a scoring load.

Eastern Michigan has played better basketball as of late. After a horrid run of form that saw them lose seven of eight games, they have bounced back to win three of their last four games, including the home win against Northern Illinois.

Even though they have been playing well, Eastern Michigan has yet to win a true road game this season. They rank 312 nationally in field goal percentage at 39.8 percent. They also average 34.4 rebounds per game and only 10.8 assists per game.

Besides Thompson and Bryant, junior guard Daylen Harrison and freshman guard Jalen Ross are also key contributors to the Eastern Michigan cause. Harrison averages 9.7 points per game, while Ross leads the team with 3.2 assists per game.

Even though he was offered an escape route to the NBA, Eastern Michigan head coach Rob Murphy decided he wanted to come back for a second season with the Eagles. The reigning MAC Coach of the Year and former Syracuse assistant has compiled a 24-28 record with the Eagles.

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