After a week full of studying, the men’s basketball team will be back in action at 8 p.m. Sunday when it heads to Pepperdine.
CMU is coming off a physical loss to Charlotte (78-66) and will be looking to rebound against a 6-3 Waves team that is similar to the Chippewas.
“They play an up-tempo game and can hurt you inside as well as outside,” head coach Keno Davis said. “They are a really well rounded team that will give us a tough test.”
With it being exam week, basketball has taken a back seat for CMU and that is something that makes Davis a bit uneasy about this week.
“I don’t think any coach is every happy on how the team performs on finals week,” Davis said. “You have to try and improve little things in the time you have with them on the court.”
One thing the Chippewas would have liked with the light week was to see the return of senior forward Zach Saylor, as well as junior forward DeAndry Buckley.
Unfortunately, CMU will not be getting either back this week.
“We haven’t been the luckiest in the health department this year,” Davis said. “However it’s allowed freshmen like John Simons and Blake Hibbitts to not only get more reps at practice and minutes in the game, but we’ll look back on this year and talk about how good this was for them.”
Despite losing the team’s only true center in Saylor, the Chippewas haven’t slowed down on the boards.
They were out-rebound by just one against a physical 49ers team, and they out-rebounded both Bradley and Niagara.
“All of our roles have changed (without Saylor or Buckley),” freshman forward John Simons said. “Blake (Hibbitts) and I have had to play inside, but it’s good for me and its fun.”
With exam week over, CMU can use the next few weeks to focus solely on basketball, something that Davis is excited about for his team.
“What we saw with this team in the summer with a limited amount of time and how much improvement we saw when we just focused on basketball I would expect us to improve as rapidly as anyone in the country,” Davis said.