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Quick start helps men’s basketball to blowout Arkansas Pine-Bluff 62-45

Men’s basketball made Arkansas-Pine Bluff pay for using a  zone-defense at the start of Sunday’s game with six-of-seven of its baskets coming from three to start the 62-45 win.

Central Michigan jumped out to a 20-8 lead about eight minutes into the game and it never looked back.

“We got hot at the beginning, and that helped out a lot,” freshman forward Blake Hibbitts said. “(Zone-defense) was what they played last night, so we were kind of expecting zone.”

Senior guard Kyle Randall and freshman guard Chris Fowler set the shots up, assisting on the first six three-pointers made.

The three-point shooters for the Chippewas were freshman Spencer Krannitz and Hibbitts who came off the bench and both had a team-high nine points at the half.

Krannitz career-high was six points against Texas State, tallied on Thursday. He did not add to his career-high in the second half.

Hibbitts added one more three-pointer to lead in scoring with Randall with 12 points.

A beneficiary of the defense enforced by Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Hibbitts still did not know he had a team-high in points at the end of the game.

“I wasn’t necessarily thinking this is my night to get shots,” he said. “If I had an open look, I took it.”

CMU was 47.1 percent from the three-point line, making eight by halftime.

After giving up 43 points in the first half of their game against Nebraska Saturday, the defense  showed up Sunday, limiting the Golden Lions to a field goal percentage of 25 percent in the first and giving up 18 points.

“Quite a turnaround defensively,” head coach Keno Davis said. “Obviously there not as big or cause as many match-up problems as we faced with Nebraska, but I think we learned from some things last night.”

The Chippewas out-rebounded Arkansas Pine-Bluff 50-34 on the night.

Davis said he was impressed with Mbaigoto’s 13 rebounds in 21 minutes and Simons’ 10 in 19 minutes.

“To be able to do that in (about) 20 minutes, even in a game like that, I think it says quite a bit about those guys,” he said.

CMU travels to Ann Arbor to play No. 2 Michigan at 7 p.m. Saturday in its final non-conference game.

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