Men's basketball opens three-game home stand against SIUE

Sophomore guard Matty Smith practices with the Central Michigan men's basketball team on Dec. 7 at McGuirk Arena.

Central Michigan men’s basketball head coach Keno Davis described the team's last game as a “gut-check." The Chippewas got the win in overtime against the University of Missouri - Kansas City. 

“We were a little banged up but Luke Meyer is a guy who wasn't feeling great but still got out there and competed. We really battled through it and showed what this team is made of,” Davis said. 

CMU (9-2) will now head back to Mount Pleasant to open a three-game home stand against Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville (4-6) at 7 p.m. on Dec. 22 in McGuirk Arena.

Against the Kangaroos on Tuesday, sophomore guard Kevin McKay was held out with a sprained ankle.

Fellow sophomore guard Matty Smith has been battling a nagging injury throughout this season, and when asked about the possibility of a redshirt year for Smith a couple of weeks ago, he and Davis were both open to it and said it would be a “positive” move for him.

On Tuesday night, Smith played 19 minutes and scored five points on 2-of-2 shooting while adding four assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot. Davis said the decision was based off of McKay's injury, but also Smith's recent work ethic. 

“We don’t win that game without Matty Smith,” Davis said. “It was a tough decision that I’ve been battling for awhile. Sometimes you just have to wait for your number to be called and now it’ll be good to see him in the rotation for the foreseeable future.”

Last season, Smith spent his time backing up former CMU guards Braylon Rayson and Marcus Keene.

The 5-foot-11 guard played in all 32 games totaling four minutes per game, 14 total assists and five steals on the 2016-17 season.

Transfer guard Shawn Roundtree who was noted by Davis to still be battling an ankle injury scored 19 of his final 23 points in the final 15 minutes of action.

Scouting SIUE

The Cougars come in with a losing record, but have recently caught some fire as winners of their last three games against IUPUI, South Alabama and Chicago State.

SIUE is coached by Jon Harris, who has compiled a 16-52 record.

The Cougars are a part of the Ohio Valley Conference where last season they finished last with a 1-15 conference record (6-24 overall). This year, the Cougars are 2-2 on their home floor but just 2-4 away from the Vadalabene Center.

Through 10 games this season, the Cougars are shooting 41.8 percent from the field and 34.8 percent average from 3-point distance. The Cougars rank eighth in scoring offense in the OVC, averaging 73.2 points per game.

SIUE is last in scoring defense in the conference — allowing 85.1 points per game. They also rank last in rebounding with only 34.2 boards per contest.

The Cougars are led by senior forward Jalen Henry who averages 17.6 points per game on 43 percent shooting from the floor. He leads the team with 8.7 rebounds per game.

The Chippewas are familiar with the OVC, competing against Tennessee Tech earlier this season in a game they won in the closing minute by a final score of 74-69 at McGurik Arena.