Men's basketball pulls away late to top Jackson State, 70-63


Junior guard Shawn Roundtree dribbles the basketball during the basketball game against Jackson State on Dec. 1 at McGuirk Arena. 

On a night where sloppy offense and turnovers plagued the the Central Michigan men’s basketball team, they made enough big shots to pull away with a victory.

The Chippewas defeated Jackson State University (2-6) by a final score of 70-63, giving them a fifth straight win and a 6-1 overall record.

Head coach Keno Davis said coming in they knew the Tigers would give them a fight, but said it speaks a lot about to how CMU beat them in nearly every statistical category.

“We heard all about the aggressive play style they had and we saw it tonight,” Davis said. “It might not have been the prettiest game, but there are a lot of positives that we can build on and get better from.”

CMU’s offense did start slow, turning the ball over twice and shooting just 1-for-4 from the field resulting in a 4-4 game just under five minutes into play.

It wouldn't get much better as at the 11:38 timeout neither team was shooting over 30 percent from the field, but Roundtree’s jumper before the break gave the Chippewas a 10-9 advantage.

Coming out of a timeout nearing the five minute mark of the first half, senior forward Luke Meyer hit back-to-back triples that would spark a 8-0 CMU run, giving them a 21-14 advantage.

After trading blows for a few minutes, CMU would go on a 10-0 run highlighted by a DiLeo steal and 3-pointer to help give CMU a 37-28 lead at halftime.

The Chippewas shot 50 percent (6-of-12) from beyond the arc in the first half, but turned the ball over 10 times to keep JSU in the contest.

DiLeo was the only Chippewa in double figures with 12 points while adding two rebounds.

The second half got off a lot like the first one for the Chippewas, turning the ball over four more times and went cold shooting to allow JSU to trim the CMU lead to 41-35 with 15:13 to play.

A pair of Darius Austin triples for JSU would cut CMU’s lead to just three points, 46-43, with 11:38 left in regulation.

The Tigers would get the Chippewa lead down to just two points before DiLeo hit a straight away 3-ball to gave CMU a 57-52 lead with 7:52 remaining. 

JSU wouldn’t stop coming back. 

A Jeremiah Jefferson 3-pointer brought the Tigers back to within two points with just over five minutes left to play.

However, a pair of late buckets from transfer guard Gavin Peppers gave CMU enough distance to walk with a victory. 

CMU shot 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from deep and 84.2 percent (16-of-19) from the charity stripe, but turned the ball over 17 times to aid JSU to keeping up in the game.

Roundtree himself had six turnovers which he said was “too much” for one game, but they were able to battle through it.

“Jackson State did a good job of speeding us up and getting us out of our offense all night,” Roundtree said. “At the end of the game we stayed together and that is what really got us the win.”

DiLeo finished tied for a game-high with 19 points while adding five rebounds, while Roundtree had 16 points and four assists, respectively.

DiLeo said coming back to a solid crowd at home had an admirable effect on his teams play down the stretch.

“It was great to go to Alaska and win a championship, but it was great to come back and get a win with a nice crowd,” DiLeo said. “We really got people to show up and that helped to pull out the win.”

CMU will stay in Mount Pleasant for its next contest with Montana State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at McGuirk Arena and will be televised on ESPN3.