WEEK 5: Eastern Michigan, Oakland tangle; Detroit and Western Michigan collide

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The calendar has officially flipped to December and we are now on the final swing of non-conference games across the country. Some leagues have trickled in one or two league contests already but by and large, it’s the tail end of “preseason” action, so to speak.

The Horizon League and Mid-American Conference programs in Michigan are wrapping things up by partaking in numerous crossover games between the two. Some of are in-state showdowns that headline this week.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS

RECAP: Central Michigan (6-1) has gotten off to a real nice start. They emerged victorious in the Great Alaska Shootout during Thanksgiving weekend and followed that up with a victory over Jackson State when they returned home. They’ve won five straight overall, the last four by single-digits. CMU also carries the best scoring defense in the MAC, as of December 5.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/05 – vs. Montana State (6-3) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 12/09 – vs. Tennessee Tech (7-2) | 1 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Senior Luke Meyer has really bounced back early on for CMU. After seeing production deep from sophomore to junior status, the Addision, MI-native is averaging double-figures in points, a byproduct of increased playing time, and is turning into a problem for opposing teams beyond the arc.

DETROIT MERCY TITANS

RECAP: Detroit (4-4) continues to try and stay afloat amidst the mysterious suspension of head coach Bacari Alexander. The Titans are coming off consecutive road losses against Fort Wayne and UCLA, including a 33-point defeat to the Bruins. Unsurprisingly, UDM leads the Horizon League in scoring early on and now enter a stretch of playing nine of 11 games at home.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/06 – vs. Toledo (4-3) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 12/09 – vs. Western Michigan (4-4) | 2 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Redshirt junior Kameron Chatman has really benefited a move to transfer from Michigan. Chatman this season is averaging 31 minutes of playing time, after playing in no more than 16 minutes on average in two years with the Wolverines. Through eight games, he’s the Titans’ leading scorer at close to 20 points per game.

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES

RECAP: Eastern Michigan (5-2) has also gotten off to a nice start to the year, despite falling short on the road against North Florida their last time out. The Eagles’ only other loss came at Indiana, a game where they gave the Hoosiers fits for a large chunk of that game. Albeit partially inflated by two blowout wins vs. Spring Arbor and UM-Dearborn, EMU has the second-best scoring margin early on in the MAC.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/06 – vs. Oakland (5-3) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 12/09 – vs. Central State [OH] | 2 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junior Paul Jackson has emerged as a third go-to guy for Eastern Michigan early on, joining Elijah Minnie and James Thompson IV. The former Eastern Kentucky transfer is third on the team in scoring at 15.1 PPG, behind Minnie and Thompson, and paces the team in assists at 4.1 per game. And don’t let the 1/18 season mark from three-point land fool you, this is a guy that shot 42 percent from downtown two years ago.

OAKLAND GOLDEN GRIZZLIES

RECAP: Oakland (5-3) has rebounded from three three losses with three consecutive in the win column. Among the losses for OU during that stretch were to perennial powers Syracuse and Kansas, and all three defeats were by double-digits. Head coach Greg Kampe will surely use those as teaching moments for later on in the season.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/06 – @ Eastern Michigan (5-2) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 12/09 – vs. Chicago State (2-9) | 3 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Fifth-year senior and Lansing-native Jalen Hayes has only played in (the previous) four games this season following a suspension to start the year. But Hayes has been a welcomed spark for the Golden Grizzlies, already recording three double-doubles in his first four times out, including most recently in a win vs. Western Michigan.

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

RECAP: Western Michigan (4-4), speaking of, won a pair of games by double-digits following a 2-3 start to the season but their mini winning streak was halted this past weekend by the aforementioned Golden Grizzlies of Oakland. Judging by the overall stats and the schedule thus far, they are right about where they should be early on.

UP NEXT (Click here for broadcast information):

  • 12/06 – vs. Cleveland State (2-5) | 7 p.m. ET
  • 12/09 – @ Detroit Mercy (4-4) | 2 p.m. ET

PLAYER TO WATCH: Junioe Bryce Moore is turning into a solid No. 2 for Western behind Thomas Wilder. Moore through eight games has doubled his points and rebounds per game output and has seen a noticeable uptick in three-point shooting. It will be interesting to see how he responds after tallying just six points against Oakland in 39 minutes of action his last time out.