Men's basketball's defense carries CMU to seventh win


Junior guard Shawn Roundtree calls play on Dec. 5 in McGuirk Arena. 

Defense led the Central Michigan men’s basketball team to a 75-48 victory against Montana State University Tuesday night in McGuirk Arena.

The Chippewas held the Bobcats to 28.8 percent shooting from the floor and allowed just one made 3-pointer to earn their sixth straight win. CMU now holds a 7-1 record. 

Head coach Keno Davis said MSU was a “talented” team that will win games this season and they were fortunate to hold them in check like they did tonight.

“We have to make sure that we come out of this game understanding the score looks stretched but it could've been closer,” Davis said. “We have a ways to go as a team to improve offensively and defensively and it’s nice to be able to go back to practice on a winning streak.”

CMU started the game with three offensive boards and a senior guard Josh Kozinski 3-pointer to help guide them to a 7-2 lead over the Bobcats early.

The Chippewas continued to grow their lead to double figures following a 6-0 run where they held MSU without a field goal for over five minutes, leading 13-2.

Guided by a senior forward Luke Meyer layup and dunk, CMU took a 22-8 lead with 7:58 to go in the opening half.

Sophomore forward David DiLeo hit a contested 3-pointer as the horn sounded and CMU took a 37-20 lead into the locker room for halftime.

The Bobcats shot 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from the field and were 0-of-9 from deep while they coughed up 11 turnovers. 

Davis said the defense is showing an effort on every possession that is very rare to find.

“You see guys talking, working and battling on the ball and off the ball,” Davis said. “Our entire team has bought into the fact that we need to be a really good defensive team.”

At one point in the half, CMU held MSU without a field goal for just under six minutes.

The second half would start with more dominance by the Chippewas.

McKay drove and dunked to give CMU a 21-point advantage, 46-25, with under 15 minutes remaining in the game.

A pair of back-to-back DiLeo 3-pointers gave CMU a 10-0 run that lasted just under five minutes, giving CMU it’s largest lead at 58-31 with 8:24 remaining.

CMU continued to control the game to the finish, walking out with their fourth double-digit win of the regular season.

Four CMU players finished in double figures — McKay, DiLeo, Williams and Roundtree — led by McKay who had 17 points to go along with six rebounds. 

DiLeo was one rebound shy of a double-double, scoring 13 points and pulling down nine rebounds.

McKay said when he was coming off the screens, the MSU defenders would stay out on the shooters and allow him to become open.

“My teammates have done a great job getting me the ball and telling me to attack,” McKay said. “It made it a lot easier for me to be confident when I was going to the rim.”

CMU forced 17 turnovers on the night and held the Bobcats without a field goal for the final 3:42 of regulation.  

Williams said coming into the game CMU wanted to change what they did defensively against MSU a year ago.

“From the beginning of the year to now we’ve wanted to improve on defense,” Williams said. “I think people can see the difference on that end from last years team to this years team.”

CMU will finish off a three-game home stand at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 against Tennessee Tech in McGuirk Arena.

Game notes

  • Last season, MSU guard Tyler Hall had 29 points against CMU. Tonight, he was held to zero points on nine shot attempts.
  • A year ago, the Bobcats scored 103 points against CMU. They were held to 55 less points this evening.
  • CMU did turn the ball over 12 times tonight, now with 29 in the last two games at home.
  • Freshman guard and brother to Josh Kozinski, Adam Kozinski netted his first points as a Chippewas with a corner 3-pointer with less than a minute to play.