The men’s basketball team went into hostile territory on Wednesday night when they traveled to Eastern Michigan. That territory was guarded by tall, lengthy players that gave CMU fits en route to losing 42-64.
CMU knew what it was going against with the size of EMU. That size has made EMU the number one team in the nation with defensive field goal percentage and it showed Wednesday night.
The Chippewas shot just 25.5 percent from the field while being held to a season low 42 points.
Head coach Keno Davis knew EMU was going to be trouble with their size.
“We knew going in that there was a reason that EMU leads the country in field goal defense,” Davis said. “Not only do they do a good job with their length but around the perimeter as well. They also have size inside to be able to keep teams from scoring at the basket. You saw a game that was really won on the defensive end for them.”
Sloppy play plagued the Chippewas during the game. They committed 15 turnovers after taking care of the ball the past few games.
Guards Chris Fowler, Braylon Rayson and Rayshawn Simmons all had three a piece.
“I think some of our youth showed,” Davis said. “Not only with lack of field goal percentage but with the turnovers. Turning the ball over is something we didn’t do the last few games. We have to be able to get back to that and take care of the ball.”
CMU only shot 8-for-18 at the free-throw line against EMU.
During the earlier part of the season, CMU led the Mid-American Conference in free-throw percentage.
“The last three games we have not shot well from the free-throw line,” Davis said. “Not shooting free throws well is always a concern but I think we have good free-throw shooters we have just gone through a stretch where we haven’t made them. The most concerning thing is that we only made it to the line 18 times.”
Fowler was the only player for CMU to score in double digits and he did it with 10 points.
Simmons was the next leading scorer with seven points.
“We made a run in the second half to pull it within one,” Davis said. “And then the game got away from us. We had to be a little bit more aggressive in the full court and try to speed it up to be able to come back. When your final score is in the 40s, an eight or ten point game seems like a lot. We had to gamble more.”
Early on in the second half CMU closed the score to within one point and despite the lack of size CMU was able to finish even with EMU with 37 rebounds each.
Those are encouraging signs from a team that is right around the corner from competing in the conference tournament.
“I’m proud of our guys,” Davis said. “Not only did we make a run in the second half to close it within one point but in a game where we didn’t shoot well to be able to be even on rebounding that’s a good sign for us moving forward because we know that we have to be a good rebounding team in the next two weeks to be able to make a run in the conference tournament.”