Basketball

COLUMN: Scoring cause of concern after painful loss to Western Michigan

The men’s basketball team did not just lose a game, 76-59, against Western Michigan Saturday at McGuirk Arena.

It lost an opportunity to give head coach Keno Davis his first signature win and put Central Michigan back in first place in the Mid-American Conference West Division, instead of two games back.

The Chippewas missed out on the opportunity for a number of reasons. First, there was rebounding: the Chippewas gave up 42 rebounds and only grabbed 27.

There were the points in the paint. The Broncos had 28 and CMU only had 10.

Additionally, the defense did not help on the perimeter, allowing eight three-pointers out of 21.

But, most of all, it was the lack of scoring that hurt the Chippewas.

It was presumed that the shooting woes were gone when the offense rolled off five games of more than 70 points in regulation from Dec. 16 and Jan. 9, but it seems it was a fluke.

They are ranked 296th in field goal percentage through Jan. 24 for a reason.

It can be said that it is becoming more of a problem than less of a problem; because senior guard Kyle Randall, the leading scorer for CMU, is starting to miss his shots, probably because he has been so relied on.

It looked like it was going to be a good night for him, starting the game with a two-pointer right inside the arc, but he was two for 13 from the field the rest of the way.  Although, he did make all six free throws to account for 14 points.

Digging deeper, the fast break points tell a lot of the story.

The Chippewas pride themselves on scoring points quickly, and it only had seven compared to the Broncos, who had 13.

It does not take a basketball connoisseur to see why that occurred.  Among other things, the point guards were not looking up the floor well enough.

But, luckily, Davis can easily point to how to look up because, though rare, there were moments that the Chippewas were able to find quick baskets.

It is unknown whether it counted as “fast-break points,” but when freshman guard Chris Fowler got his fourth steal a minute into the second half and delivered a long pass to Randall, who was standing beyond the arc and made the shot, he showed how it’s done.

The game between rivals, CMU and WMU, brought a crowd of 3,419 Saturday.

It will be difficult to draw crowds even close to that if the team continues to slide.

It has already been said that the expectations have been lowered after the loss against Northern Illinois, which only had 25 points in its loss against Eastern Michigan Saturday.

What the Chippewas must do is prove that the offense from the middle of December to early January that hid other flaws and brought excitement was not a fluke.

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