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News and Notes From the Midwest Mid-Majors

   by ASA - 02/07/2008

Horizon League
Illinois-Chicago: Sophomore point guard Spencer Stewart doesn’t score that many points and he doesn’t shoot that well from the field but his return to full health has definitely paid dividends. Stewart, who leads the team in assists, missed six games at the start of league play and was hobbled for two games after that, a stretch in which the Flames went just 2-6 SU and 4-4 ATS. He returned to full-time duty two games ago and Illinois-Chicago won both games outright and ATS, largely due to his ability to move the ball.

Wisconsin-Green Bay: Starting forward Randy Berry is expected to miss this weekend’s game with Butler with a sprained ankle. He has missed the last five games and the Phoenix are averaging just 65.5 points per game over that span, four points per game less than their season average. Berry doesn’t score a lot (6.8 ppg) but he provides inside scoring and is the team’s second-leading rebounder.

Mid-American Conference
Akron: The Zips lost leading scorer and rebounder Jeremiah Wood in the second half of their 86-66 loss at Western Michigan. Wood suffered a deep knee bruise that was aggravated early in the second half. He is averaging 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and is questionable for Saturday’s game with Ball State.

Eastern Michigan: Reserve center James Matthews, who was the team’s third-leading rebounder and shot 50 percent from the field, was recently dismissed from the team for conduct detrimental to the team.

Miami (OH): Tim Pollitz and Michael Bramos have led the RedHawks in scoring all season but it has been the recent surge from junior guard Kenny Hayes that has propelled Miami to a four-game winning streak. Hayes has averaged 19.6 points over his last seven games, which has allowed the RedHawks, who are averaging just 61.3 points per game on the season, to average 68.5 points over their last four.

Northern Illinois: Second-leading scorer Jarvis Nichols returned from a two-game absence Tuesday night to lead the Huskies in scoring with 22 points. Northern Illinois lost to Buffalo 89-81 but the 81 points were a vast improvement over the 53 points per game the Huskies averaged with Nichols sidelined.

Ohio: Starting guards Michael Allen and Bert Whittington IV have both been slowed by injuries recently and it showed in Ohio’s 63-56 loss at Eastern Michigan. The two combined to shoot just 4-of-11 in the loss, scoring five fewer points than their combined season average.

Missouri Valley Conference
Drake: The Bulldogs’ 73-70 win over Illinois State Tuesday gave them a four-game lead in the MVC, with just six games to play. Te 15th-ranked Bulldogs are 12-0 in conference play and 21-1 overall on the season. The local newspapers have already started to claim that the conference title is all but wrapped up so be aware of possible complacency on Drake’s part.

Illinois State: Second-half letdowns have been commonplace in Illinois State home games recently. The Redbirds took big leads into halftime against Drake, Indiana State, Evansville and Northern Iowa but failed to cover each of those games after struggling in the second stanza. They took an average halftime lead of 10 points in those games but have been outscored by an average of 6.8 points in the second half of those contests.

Missouri State: Starting center Drew Richards, who had missed the previous eight games with mononucleosis, returned to the lineup Wednesday against Bradley. He was limited to just eight minutes but contributed four points in his time on the court. For the season, Richards is averaging 7.4 points, 3.9 rebounds and a team-best 1.4 blocks.

Wichita State: Matt Braeuer, who is third on the team in scoring and second in both assists and steals, returned from a 10-game absence due to concussion complications Wednesday against Evansville. He was limited to just 12 minutes of action but his nine points helped Wichita State jump to a 31-20 halftime lead.

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