Basketball / Sports

CMU to play at Youngstown State during ESPN BracketBuster weekend

For the 10th time the men’s basketball team will participate in ESPN’s BracketBuster weekend when it takes on Youngstown State on Feb. 23.

The announcement was made late Monday night when ESPN released the 122-team field.

The Chippewas will be on the road in Youngstown, Ohio, to take on the Penguins of the Horizon League.

Youngstown State is 13-9 overall this season with a 5-4 Horizon League record. The Penguins had an impressive win early in the season when they beat Georgia in Athens, 68-56.

They are also coming off a recent 80-68 win against Horizon League leader Valparaiso.

CMU and Youngstown State have each played Wright State and Bowling Green, with both teams beating the Raiders and Falcons.

The Chippewas beat WSU for the first time in four years at the Utah Thanksgiving Tournament. Freshman forward Blake Hibbitts had a lead-saving block prior to fellow freshman guard Derrick Richardson Jr. making two clutch free-throws to clinch the game.

CMU beat BGSU, 73-67, on Jan. 9 to start Mid-American Conference play after letting a 17-point halftime lead whittle away. Thankfully, for the Chippewas, they had senior guard Kyle Randall who scored a McGuirk Arena-record 31 points and made all 13 of his free-throws.

Randall also had a team-leading six rebounds, three assists and two steals.

The Penguins shot 50 percent from the field against the Raiders and was able to secure the win by shooting 78.9 percent from the free-throw line.

Senior forward Damian Eargle had a team-leading 18 points in the game and had five blocks.

Youngstown State beat the Falcons with its defense in a low-scoring 58-49 win.

The Penguins were able to keep BGSU off the scoreboard by holding it to just 31 percent shooting from the field and 14.3 percent from beyond the arc. Youngstown State also recorded seven blocks in the game, four of which from Eargle.

The Penguins are ranked No. 5 in a strong Horizon League.

Youngstown State is a veteran team lead by junior guard Kendrick Perry, who is averaging 16.5 points per game and 4.1 assists while bringing down 5.3 rebounds per game.

Eargle is at 12.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 3.5 blocks a game. His 3.5 blocks makes him the sixth best shot blocker in the nation, just behind Akron senior center Zeke Marshall, who is at 3.6 per game.

CMU holds 4-1 advantage all-time against the Penguins and have never lost in Youngstown, Ohio.

The most recent matchup came in 2006 when the Chippewas lost to Youngstown State, 74-50, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.

This is the 11th and final year of ESPN’s BracketBuster weekend. The MAC has every team participating including league-leader Akron against North Dakota State, Ohio at Belmont and Western Michigan against Pacific on the ESPN family of networks.

CMU is 5-4 in BracketBuster games and has lost its last two, Texas A & M-Corpus Christi last season and Niagara in 2011.

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