Toledo (2-4) at Cleveland State (5-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Wolstein Center (13,610) -- Cleveland, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Toledo 1-0, CSU 2-0. Away Record: Toledo 0-4, CSU 1-2. Neutral Record: Toledo 1-0, CSU 2-0. Conference Record: Toledo 0-0, CSU 0-0. Series Record: Toledo leads, 6-4.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets will try to notch their first road win of the season as they challenge the Cleveland State Vikings at the Wolstein Center in a non-conference tilt.
The Rockets improved to 2-4 on Wednesday with an 80-68 win over Texas A&M- Corpus Christi. The victory was the second in three outings for the Rockets, who began their season with three consecutive losses. All of the team's losses have come on the road so far. Coach Tod Kowalczyk is just in his second year at the helm of the program. In his first season, he led Toledo to 15 wins after it finished 4-28 overall the year before his arrival from Green Bay. Toledo is being outscored by an average of 3.6 points per contest this season.
Cleveland State will be facing its second opponent from the Mid-American Conference in a row as it downed Ball State by six points on Wednesday to improve to 5-2 on the season. The victory was the third in four games for the Vikings, whose only losses came at Michigan and Robert Morris. Coach Gary Waters has to like his team's odds in this one considering recent history, as CSU has won 10 in a row versus schools from the MAC. The Vikings have outscored their opponents by 27.5 ppg at home this season.
The Rockets lead the all-time series, 6-4.
Toledo has been heating up recently with an average of 77.2 ppg over its last three games. The Rockets blasted out of the game versus Texas A&M-CC with a season-high of 44 first half points. They were slowed down after the break and converted only 22.2 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half. Rian Pearson tallied a career-high 30 points thanks to a career-best 16 free throws. Julius Brown added 16 points and six assists. The two make up a very potent backcourt for the Rockets. Pearson is leading the MAC in scoring with 19.8 ppg while Brown ranks fifth with 16.7 ppg. Dominique Buckley adds effective three-point shooting (12-of-26 3PT) while Reese Holiday is leading the squad with 5.7 boards per game off the bench.
The Vikings managed to earn a 69-63 decision over Ball State their last time out despite shooting just 37.9 percent from the field in the contest. CSU went into the halftime trailing, but held the Cardinals to only nine field goals in the second 20 minutes to climb on top. Second-chance points were key for CSU as it scored 19 points on such opportunities, compared to just six for the Cardinals. Bryn Forbes scored 18 points off the bench to lift the team to the win. Point guard Charlie Lee scored 16 points despite having an off-night (4- of-15) from the floor. Although he struggled versus Ball State, Lee has been tremendous in his first season as a full-time starter. He is leading the team with 14.9 points and 5.6 assists per contest. CSU played without second leading scorer Anton Grady and lost starter Junior Lomomba two minutes into the contest. Grady's status for Saturday is unknown, but Lomomba is going to be sidelined for a lengthy period.
Due to the injuries to CSU, this is a winnable game for Toledo. The one-two punch out of the backcourt will be tough for the Vikings to stop. However, Lee is showing great leadership ability so far this season. If he gets it going, the Vikings will continue their dominance over the MAC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cleveland State 73, Toledo 71
12/01 10:31:33 ET