Basketball / Sports

Central Michigan 70, Northern Illinois 67: Men’s basketball grabs consecutive wins for first time since December

Sophomore guard Austin Stewart drives to the basket Sunday against Northern Illinois at McGuirk Arena. With the win, CMU won consecutive games for the first time since December.(Gregory Cornwell | Staff Photographer)

Sophomore guard Austin Stewart drives to the basket Sunday against Northern Illinois at McGuirk Arena. With the 70-67 win, CMU won consecutive games for the first time since December. (Gregory Cornwell | Staff Photographer)

For the Central Michigan men’s basketball team, revenge is best served at home.

CMU grabbed consecutive wins for the first time since December, with a 70-67 payback win against Northern Illinois, Sunday at McGuirk Arena.

In the previous meeting, NIU stomped the Chippewas, 88-63, Feb. 12 in DeKalb Ill.

“It feels good to get things rolling. We are trying to start a little streak here,” said sophomore guard Austin Stewart. “Coach (Keno Davis) keeps stressing that we want to be playing our best basketball this time of the year. That’s the goal each and every day.”

Stewart scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds and shot 5-for-7 from the free-throw line against the Huskies.

Freshman guard Braylon Rayson followed up a career-high 30-point night against Ball State on Wednesday with a team leading 19 points, Sunday.

“I’m just getting used to the system and the offense here,” Rayson said. “I’m getting comfortable. It’s starting to feel easier now.”

Both teams struggled offensively to start the game, but 10 NIU first-half turnovers put CMU up early. The Huskies committed 18 turnovers by the end of the game.

“Our height disadvantage sticks out more in the half-court,” Davis said. “That’s why the faster-paced style of play benefits us. We are forcing more turnovers now as opposed to just taking them like we were earlier in the year.”

NIU used improved shot selection to cut the Chippewas lead down below 10 points with less than three minutes remaining.

However, CMU used their conference-best free-throw shooting to cap the victory.

“We feel like we can compete with anybody in this league,” Davis said. “That doesn’t mean we are better than them, that doesn’t mean that we are going to beat them. We feel like we can hold our own.”

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