Men’s basketball team loses on road to Miami (OH)
The CMU men’s basketball team’s struggles in Oxford continued Thursday night.
The Chippewas lost their first Mid-American Conference crossover game, 64-51, against Miami in Oxford, Ohio.
CMU has not won at Miami since 1991.
Offensive struggles proved to be the Chippewas’ crutch in the game. The RedHawks outshot CMU 46.5 percent to 37.3 from the field.
“Miami was tougher, make no question about it,” said CMU coach Ernie Zeigler. “Coach Coles and the Miami program prides itself on its level of toughness and grittiness, and they were a team that came out with a sense of purpose in their home floor.”
In the first half, CMU got off to an early lead with two field goals by senior guard Jordan Bitzer. With Central leading by as many as four, the RedHawks went on a 10-0 run, eventually taking an 18-12 lead.
Senior forward Chris Kellermann’s pair of free throws with 4:52 remaining in the first half ended a 6-minute, 46-second scoring drought, making it 18-14 Miami.
The RedHawks outshot CMU in a defensive first half, 38.1 percent to 29.2, taking a three-point lead at halftime. CMU started the game 2-for-10 shooting.
Junior guard Antonio Weary quickly tied the game in the second half, and the teams went back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the half.
But with Miami up 35-34, Weary missed a pair of free throws with 10:31 remaining in the game and the RedHawks quickly scored a field goal.
The following possession, CMU turned the ball over and Miami quickly scored again and was fouled. Completing the three-point play, the RedHawks went up 39-34 with 9:44 remaining.
From there, CMU never got closer than four points, and the RedHawks led by as many at 13.
Bitzer led CMU with 10 points and four rebounds. Senior guard Robbie Harman scored nine points after starting the game 0-for-8 from the field. Bitzer and Harman went 6-for-23 combined.
“They knew they had to really come at those two, and they really did a good job of that,” Zeigler said.
The RedHawks (7-13, 4-3 MAC) were led by guard senior Kenny Hayes, who scored 20 points and junior forward Nick Winbush had 13.
Miami outrebounded CMU 33-27.
CMU did not arrive in Oxford until 4:30 a.m. Thursday after the team bus broke down in Okemos. It delayed the trip an hour and a half.
CMU (9-9, 4-2 MAC) continues play against the MAC East at 7 p.m. Saturday in Bowling Green.
BGSU (10-8, 3-3 MAC) won its opening crossover game 64-61 against Eastern Michigan Tuesday in Ypsilanti.
The Falcons were down 37-28 at the half, but outshot the Eagles 53.8 percent to 28.6 in the second half.
Sophomore forward Scott Thomas led the Falcons with 18 points, 17 of which came in the second half on 7-of-9 shooting. Thomas was one of four Bowling Green players scoring in double figures. Senior center Otis Polk had 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Falcons outrebounded the Eagles 33-27 and had four more steals.
Thomas (6-foot-6) leads the Falcons in scoring with 11.7 points per game and 15.8 during MAC play. Sophomore guard Dee Brown (6-foot-3) also averages double-figure points per game with 10.4 overall and 10.2 in conference games.
Polk (6-foot-9) leads the team with 7.6 rebounds per game (fifth-best in the MAC) and is the third on the team in scoring, averaging 9.5 points per game.
Central Michigan next plays at home against Buffalo at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rose Arena.
The game against Buffalo starts a three-game home stretch, including games on Feb. 6 against Kent State and Feb. 9 against Akron.
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