Men's basketball goes 3-2 over break behind Randall, Mbaigoto
The men’s basketball team took until winter break to accumulate offensive numbers that Keno Davis’ teams often feature, going 3-2 to finish the non-conference schedule 7-6.
Central Michigan scored more than 70 points in four-of-five games, after tallying over 70 in one of its first eight games of the season.
The Chippewas needed every point in its first two games over the break, when it came out victorious at Pepperdine, 80-77, on Dec. 16, making 14-of-29 three-pointers and again at home against Texas State on Dec. 20, beating the Bobcats, 92-80.
But the high-scoring offense was not enough against Big Ten schools Nebraska and No. 2 Michigan.
In their 89-75 loss to Nebraska at the Sun Bowl Invitational on Dec. 22, CMU allowed the Cornhuskers to get off to a hot start, giving them a 10-0 lead at the beginning and allowing them to make 63 percent of their shots in the first half.
Senior guard Kyle Randall kept Nebraska’s lead, hovering around 10 points that the Chippewas spotted them at the beginning of the game by delivering the best performance by a CMU player during winter break, with a career-high 27 points and eight rebounds and three assists.
“Kyle Randall continues to impress,” head coach Keno Davis said. “I think people realize he’s a complete player, and he will do whatever is needed for the team.”
CMU lost 88-73 in Ann Arbor on Dec. 29, its first game against a top-five opponent since 1988.
The Wolverines, without junior starting guard Tim Hardaway Jr., were able to have a safe lead the entire game but did not stretch it over 20 points like it did against six opponents this season, including Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan.
“Some teams have trouble to fight back when the game is out of reach,” Davis said. “We don’t have one of those teams; we’re going to continue to fight and continue to get better.”
Senior forward Olivier Mbaigoto showed no fear at Crisler Center, tallying the first bucket for CMU in each half and leading the team with 14 points.
“When I look at Mbaigoto, I don’t see a senior,” Davis said. “I see someone who is just starting to approach the surface ... when he’s in there, we don’t look as young as we really are.”
CMU endured one defensive battle during the break in its last game of the Sun Bowl Invitational on Dec. 23 against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, winning 62-45.