The men’s basketball team continued its downhill slide in an 87-72 loss at Kent State Saturday.
But, head coach Keno Davis didn’t see Central Michigan’s sixth-straight loss as a letdown; he saw it as a team continuing to improve as it uses the last month of the regular-season to prepare for the conference tournament.
“We probably played our two best games of the year at Akron and at Kent State,” Davis said. “I was really pleased with our effort. I think we’re playing very good basketball, yet we understand we have to get better by the conference tournament to be able to be a dangerous team.”
The Chippewas allowed 44 points in the first half but remained in the game because they scored 40.
“Both teams were getting up-and-down,” Davis said. “What we have to do is cut down on our field goal percentage defense. We have to do that. But, sometimes, you’re going against better teams, better inside teams, good shooting teams.”
Golden Flashes forward Chris Evans contributed to KSU’s 10-2 run with a three-point play to make it 60-48, the largest lead either team had at that point in the game, with 14:26 left.
Senior guard Kyle Randall, who scored 20 points for the game, made a valiant effort, bringing CMU within five, making a three-pointer with a second left on the shot clock and two free throws in a 7-0 run.
But, Evans added the last points of another run with a dunk, making it 68-56 with about eight and a half minutes to go that gave the Golden Flashes enough breathing room to beat CMU for the 11th straight time.
In the first half, KSU guard Randal Holt scored a three-pointer from the left corner for the first basket of the game, beginning a fast-paced half.
The score was 19-19 after freshman forward John Simons made a three-pointer, 6:12 into the game.
Both teams had taken 11 shots apiece, and CMU made eight, while KSU had made seven.
While both defenses struggled, the offenses prevailed with only two turnovers by the Chippewas and four by the Golden Flashes in the first half.
“I liked the play offensively, because we were scoring, getting good looks. They were having trouble defending us in our spread offense,” Davis said. “I wasn’t happy defensively, because we were trying a lot of different things to try to throw Kent State off.”
CMU allowed over 80 points for the fourth time this season.
Davis said the three-point line was where the game was lost.
KSU was 11 of 22 from beyond the arc, while the Chippewas made seven of 24.
CMU plays Ohio, which has the second-best MAC record, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at McGuirk Arena.