Weekly recap: CMU wins three games in four days, crowned Great Alaska Shootout champions
Following in the footsteps of his father Tom Davis who won the Great Alaska Shootout with Iowa in the 1986-87 season, Keno Davis and the Central Michigan basketball team carved its names into the tournament‘s record books.
The Chippewas (5-1) won three games in four days to win the 40th and final Great Alaskan Shootout by topping Cal State Bakersfield (4-3) 75-72 on Saturday night.
“We gave an extreme effort,” CMU head coach Keno Davis said. “We didn’t always make the right play, but we played extremely hard through three games, which is what you have to do to win a tournament.”
How it happened
Sam Houston State was the Chippewas first competition of the tournament and by far its most convincing win.
In a game where senior forward Cecil Williams and transfer guard Shawn Roundtree combined for 36 points, CMU controlled a double digit lead for nearly the entire game, topping the Bearkats 71-60.
The Chippewas once again took advantage of free throw shooting, making 16-of-18 attempts from the charity stripe.
“We practice them all the time and I think it says a lot about the guys character when they make these clutch shots,” Davis said. “We have a lot of guys that can knock them down consistently and as we cut our turnovers in the future I think we will get to the line more.”
While CMU did hold SHSU to just 40.3 percent shooting and 23.3 percent from beyond the arc, the Chippewas committed 14 turnovers and allowed 28 points in the paint.
The win moved CMU into the winners bracket second round where they met Cal Poly (3-4) on Friday night at the Alaska Airlines Center.
It was a game that neither team controlled, but Roundtree had the last laugh.
The 6-foot, 185-pound guard got a pair of screen, broke around the edge of the perimeter and pulled up for a triple that he buried with just four seconds remaining to give CMU a 56-53 win.
Davis said his team didn’t shoot or rebound well, but they played hard enough to make big plays and walk away with the victory.
“We played really hard on the defensive end,” Davis said. “We came up with enough plays to get the win.”
Sophomore guard Kevin McKay lead the Chippewas with 19 points while Roundtree cracked double figures with 10 points, respectively.
CMU shot just over 22 percent (4-of-18) from deep, but the Chippewas used the charity stripe to their advantage again, shooting 82.4 percent (14-of-17) from the line.
Cal Poly’s junior guard Donovan Fields, who led the Mustangs with 20 points, had a chance at a shot to tie the game but came up short as the game-ending horn sounded.
CMU moved into the championship round for a date with Cal State Bakersfield where they found themselves in another close contest.
After Roundtree missed a pair of free throws to put the game away, the Runners had one final chance to tie the game but redshirt junior guard Damiyne Durham missed a 3-pointer to tie the game and CMU was crowned as champions.
Roundtree, who was named the tournaments Most Valuable Player, led the Chippewas with 15 points and six assists. CMU had four other players finish in double figures — senior forward Luke Meyer (14), sophomore guard David DiLeo (13) and Williams (12).
“(Roundtree) is a gamer,” Davis said. “He made the big play when we needed it. He settles the young guys when the ball is in his hands and we know the right play is going to be made more times than not.”
Davis commented on how special it feels to win the same tournament his father once won, especially in the final season the tournament was available to compete in.
“It was one of my fathers greatest teams in 1986 with Kevin Gamble playing for him,” Davis said. “To be able to come up here in the last tournament with no other opportunities, play well and win the tournament is definitely a special feeling.”
The Chippewas won’t return to the court until the calendar turns to December, when they will be back at McGuirk Arena for a meeting with Jackson State (2-4).
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, as CMU will be going for its fifth consecutive win. It also starts a three-game home stretch for CMU where they will also play Montana State and Tennessee Tech.