An extra five minutes wasn’t enough for the men’s basketball team, which lost 76-72 in an overtime battle Saturday at Toledo.
It was a back-and-forth affair and with 15 seconds left in regulation it was senior guard Kyle Randall who drove to the basket and finished to tie the game at 60 apiece as the Chippewas held tough to force the Rockets into overtime.
The overtime, much like in regulation, was back-and-forth with nine lead changes and two ties. But, there just wasn’t enough time for CMU in the end as the Rockets held on and remained undefeated in Mid-American Conference play.
“We had a lot of open shots to win that game and didn’t knock them down,” said head coach Keno Davis. “We miss a shot, he have a turnover, we miss a defensive assignment on the road and you think, ‘how are we still in it?’ Well, it’s because we work, and we’ll only improve with that work ethic.”
Randall continued to shine as he scored a team-high 24 points on nine of 15 shooting.
But, for the second-straight game, Randall was the only Chippewa in double-figures scoring.
“It’s another great stat line for him, and we’re only going to improve from what he puts forth,” Davis said.
CMU has faced pressure often this season, and, for the most part, it has been successful.
So, in the final moments of the game, with timeouts at his arsenal, Davis decided to let the game play out.
“I felt with the different forms of pressure we’ve had and everything that we throw at teams, it seems every game I look up and we have four timeouts and they don’t have any,” Davis said. “They are dragging on their shorts, and I think, ‘OK let’s take them right now.’”
The Chippewas, who were picked last in the MAC West preseason polls, did just that, attack. Randall attacked the Toledo defense, who is the preseason MAC favorite, and forced five extra minutes.
CMU might not have won the game, but forcing the Rockets in overtime shows how far the team has come since November.
Davis believes a loss like this is from which something his young team can learn.
“We knew we weren’t going to win them all, but we have to learn from the games we do win and when we lose, get better,” Davis said. “You just don’t want a loss to affect you in the next game.”
The Chippewas have a quick turnaround after the hard-fought loss as they prepare for a 7 p.m. Tuesday match-up at Eastern Michigan.
This will be an important game for both teams, as the Eagles are looking for their first MAC win, while CMU needs to rebound after a tough road loss.
“It’s especially tough when it’s a quick turnaround into another road game,” Davis said. “We don’t want our team to lose confidence and get down, because they thought they could win this one.”