Roundtree’s game winner pushes men’s basketball to Great Alaska Shootout championship
It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win, nonetheless.
After a back-and-forth battle in the semifinal of the Great Alaska Shootout, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team is headed to the championship game behind a game winning 3-pointer from junior guard Shawn Roundtree.
The Chippewas (4-1) took down Cal Poly (3-3) Friday at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, 56-53.
“We didn’t score well, we didn’t rebound well, we didn’t execute well, but we played really hard on the defensive end,” CMU head coach Keno Davis said. “We came up with enough plays to get the win.”
McKay led the way for the Chippewas, logging 19 points, seven rebounds and one assist. Of his 19 points, 10 came in the second half. Roundtree scored 10 points, adding five rebounds and five assists.
CMU struggled from 3-point range in the first half, shooting just 1-of-10. Coming into the game, the Chippewas owned a 35.9 shooting percentage from downtown.
“I really didn’t expect a high-scoring game today,” Davis said. “A lot of our frustration came from what (Cal Poly) did. At halftime, I told them to stay patient. Our guys didn’t get their heads down and kept working on defense.”
Cal Poly sophomore guard Donovan Fields scored the first seven points of the game for the Mustangs.
Later in the first half, CMU went just under seven minutes without scoring, but sophomore guard Kevin McKay sparked the offense with a layup to break the drought with 8:09 remaining in the first half.
“We put (McKay) on (Cal Poly’s) best player late in the game,” Davis said. “He gives us everything. You’re going to see us continue to go to him, especially if teams are going to matchup big with him.
CMU got back in the lead with 9:40 to play, as senior forward Luke Meyer spun in the lane and kissed the ball off the glass and through the basket.
Along with McKay, Meyer was solid, posting 15 points and five rebounds. Meyer and Roundtree led the team with two 3-point jumpers each.
Senior guard Victor Joseph tied the game 53-53 with 22 seconds remaining on a shot from three-point range. He had 19 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Cal Poly.
Moments later, Roundtree received a double screen, broke around the edge, pulled up and knocked down a triple to give Central Michigan a three-point lead with four seconds remaining.
“(Roundtree) had the opportunity to take it to the basket, but the defense dropped back and gave him the shot,” Davis said. “He came up with a big one.”
The final shot was taken by Cal Poly junior guard Donovan Fields, who missed at the buzzer. Despite missing the last shot, he led the way for the Mustangs, scoring 20 points and pulling down nine rebounds.
CMU will play in the championship game against Cal State Bakersfield at 12 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 26.
"Winning three games in four days is tough to do," Davis said. "Our guys have given us an opportunity to do that and we are going to need each and every one of them tomorrow."