Weekly recap: Men's basketball adds two more wins for seven in a row
Another week, another pair of games the Central Michigan men’s basketball team (8-1) added to its win column.
After rolling over Montana State on Dec. 5 by a final score of 75-48, CMU edged Tennessee Tech 74-69 on Dec. 9 to extend its win streak to seven games.
"I would take 8-1 (to start) every year," said CMU head coach Keno Davis. "Games come down to the end and you need some luck. Our guys haven't panicked.”
A season ago when the Chippewas and Bobcats met, the teams scored a combined 209 points in a CMU 106-103 victory.
In the matchup this season the scoring total was much lower for both sides, but CMU won by double figures and matched its opponents lowest scoring total on the year.
“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.”
The Chippewas held the Bobcats to 28.8 percent shooting from the field and allowed just one made 3-pointer (1-of-16) in the game.
In the first half, CMU held the Bobcats without a field goal for two different periods of over five minutes where they built a lead they never gave up. The Chippewas also forced 17 turnovers.
Sophomore forward David DiLeo and senior forward Cecil Williams both led CMU in scoring with 14 points apiece.
“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.”
The Golden Eagles presented a more tightly contested contest in the second game of the week, but Williams was there to lead the Chippewas past TTU.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward dropped 17 points while adding six rebounds and four assists to help CMU earn the win.
DiLeo said Williams has been a huge help in every offensive category for the Chippewas this season.
“Cecil (Williams) is a big part our team with scoring, rebounding, and defense," DiLeo said. "He was just motivated to get back in there and help the team win. He made some big plays.”
The game was within either teams reach until the final minute of the game.
TTU junior guard Aleksa Jugovic drilled a triple with just 1:20 left in regulation, then redshirt sophomore forward Mason Ramsey knocked down a mid-range jumper trim CMU’s lead to just a point.
Williams answered for CMU with an and-one bucket, converting the free throw giving the Chippewas a 73-69 advantage with 15.4 seconds left to play, essentially locking down a win.
Williams did go down in the game midway through the second half, as he took a hit to the head and was slow to get up but managed to walk off the floor under his own power. No foul was called on the play.
Davis said the contact was pretty visible.
"It looked like a lot of contact," Davis said. "From 80 feet away, it looked like he took an elbow to the face."
The Chippewas will venture to Cedar City, Utah where Southern Utah awaits for a 2:30 p.m. battle on Dec. 16 from Centrum Arena.