Down by 10 points with less than three minutes remaining, the men’s basketball team went on a tear against the Toledo Rockets.
Freshman guard Braylon Rayson drilled a 3-pointer with sophomore forward John Simons hitting another on the next possession. With less than two minutes in the game Tuesday, sophomore guard Chris Fowler drove into the lane and laid the ball in for two points and the foul.
Down by two points with less than a minute left, Central Michigan was forced to foul. The Rockets hit all their free throws in the final minute to secure a victory, 73-69.
“It lets us know we can play with anybody,” Fowler said after the game. “We didn’t win the game, though we aren’t a team that’s big on moral victories.”
CMU shot poorly from the perimeter despite the late-game flurry, shooting 5-for-22 on the game.
“I continue to be proud of this team,” said head coach Keno Davis. “To be able to fight back and find a way to compete, we don’t always win, but it’s a tribute to the student-athletes that we have.”
The theme for CMU the past three weeks has been close but no cigar. They fight to the end, but continue to elude winning big games.
Fowler finished with 15 points, but only scored five in the second half.
“They switched on the ball screens,” Fowler said. “They have a versatile four man and they took away my pull up. They shut down my driving lanes. It was tougher in the second half to get to the paint, but I still have to do a better job.”
While forward Austin Stewart finished with 14 points, and has continued to make strides throughout the season, the next step for him is finding ways to win games late.
“We all have made individual strides,” Stewart said. “We’ve made strides as a team and now that next step for us is just to learn how to win games, to get better. We need to save every position, we need to pull it out for a win.”
The end of the regular season is near for the Chippewas as they close out the season Friday hosting Western Michigan.
“We are learning how to play harder,” Fowler said. “There is no give up in this team. We will just keep getting better and fight until the end.”