Friday, January 9, 2009

Central opens conference season with rival Western Michigan

The men (3-9) host archrival Western Michigan at 6 p.m. Sunday at Rose Arena.

-Update: Senior forward Chris Kellermann will likely take a medical redshirt and return next season. His ankle injury is worse than originally thought and most believe he won't risk a return and come back next season. This hurts CMU in more than one way. Kellermann is the team's leading scorer (14.4 points per game) and also averaged 5.6 rebounds in his seven games before getting injured in practice. And with junior Marko Spica out for the season with a knee injury, most MAC opposition will have an advantage down low against the Chippewas.

CMU has lost its last four games (not including a 79-47 exhibition win against Michigan-Dearborn on Monday). One bright spot, however, has been senior center Marcus Van. Van is starting to get comfortable after returning to the starting rotation Dec. 15 against Alcorn State. Van is averaging 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds since regaining the starting role.

Scouting Western Michigan: The defending MAC West champion Broncos (3-10) have struggled thus far, including losses in six of their last seven. They haven't exactly played a difficult non-conference schedule (TCU and UNLV were the only major programs they faced, both losses) and have lost to Hofstra, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Loyola (Chi.), Virginia Commonwealth, Holy Cross, Southern Illinois, and Wisconsin-Green Bay. They did beat Detroit 71-58 at home, however, which CMU lost to 67-55 at Rose Arena.

WMU returns four its five leading scorers from the team that went 20-12 overall and 12-4 in the MAC last season. It only lost Joe Reitz, who averaged 15 points and 7.9 rebouds. But his real contribution came as an emotional leader. His hustle plays really set the tone in last year's matchup at Kalamazoo. The teams split last season's two matchups, with WMU winning 72-52 in Kalamazoo and CMU pulling out a 72-68 win in Mount Pleasant.

WMU leading scorers:

PlayerPoints per game
Junior guard David Kool16.9
Senior guard Shawntes Gary11.7
Senior forward Derek Drews8.0
Junior center Donald Lawson6.6
Freshman forward Flenard Whitfield5.8
Senior guard Michael Redell4.7
Junior forward Martelle McLemore4.5
Senior guard Andre Ricks2.3
Freshman center LeMarcus Lowe1.2
Freshman guard Mike Douglas1.1

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