The undersized, unexperienced and eventually leaderless Central Michigan men’s basketball team dropped its fourth consecutive Mid-American Conference game Saturday.
The Chippewas lost 72-59 to Eastern Michigan at McGuirk Arena.
CMU head coach Keno Davis was ejected midway through the second half of the loss to the Eagles following a charge call against Chippewas sophomore guard Austin Stewart.
Stewart had his best game of the season so far, leading CMU scorers with 15 points, while grabbing seven rebounds and snatching four steals.
“I didn’t try to get (the technical foul),” Davis said, “I didn’t think I deserved the second ‘T’. I’ve heard coaches say a lot of words to officials. I didn’t say any of those magic words. I got (the second technical foul) 20 or 30 seconds afterwards and I was standing there saying nothing. I was shocked.”
Davis’ ejection came just after he argued the foul call on Stewart. By NCAA rule, if a player or coach is issued a second technical foul, they are subject to immediate ejection from the game.
“We always want to see coach get fired up for us,” Stewart said. “That makes us want to play hard.”
EMU’s conference-wide, famous 2-3 zone was unsolvable for the Chippewas all night. CMU led briefly in the opening moments of the first half, but a lengthy seven-and-a-half minute scoring drought put the Chippewas out of it early.
Stewart hit one of his two 3-pointers to tie the game at 19 with 3:22 until halftime, but EMU ended the first half on a 6-2 run and led 25-21 at the break.
The Eagles grew their lead to as much as 11 points in the second half, using the stingy 2-3 zone to keep Chippewas leading scorer, sophomore Chris Fowler, from making significant impact on the game.
Fowler finished with 13 points; a season-low for the guard.
“Their zone was tough to break,” Fowler said. “We got some good shots in this one we just have to practice making them.”
The team shot 43.8 percent from the floor in the loss. The Eagles out-rebounded the Chippewas, 38-34.
CMU will head to Miami (Ohio) Wednesday in search of its first conference victory. The RedHawks are 2-2 in MAC play and topped CMU 77-70 in the teams’ first meeting.
“It’s frustrating for this to happen. We are competitors,” Fowler said. “We aren’t giving ourselves any excuses, though. We know we are going to be better in the future. But right now we feel that we have enough to get things done.”