Men’s basketball aims to avoid fifth-straight loss against Bowling Green
Central Michigan men's basketball's 25-point win over Ohio, the Chippewas have lost four-straight games in conference play.
CMU (12-6, 1-4 Mid-American Conference) wants to turn that around against Bowling Green (12-6, 3-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 20 at the Stroh Center. The Chippewas are currently last in the MAC West Division, while the Falcons are tied for second in the MAC East.
CMU sophomore forward David DiLeo, who averages the most minutes per game, has been in a shooting slump, averaging 8.7 points over the last four games. Over that stretch, he has only managed to make 24 percent of his 3-point opportunities. On the season, DiLeo is a 37 percent shooter from downtown.
“Any great shooter, like David wants to become, has games where they don’t shoot well,” CMU head coach Keno Davis said. “He has to be able to turn the page and play another day. If you’re a shooter, you shoot. He’s a guy who’s in the gym even more when he struggles.”
In spite of losing four-straight and dropped to last in the MAC West, senior forward Cecil Williams has remained consistent in his production, averaging 14.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.8 rebounds this year.
Junior guard Shawn Roundtree chips in 14.6 points and 3.8 assist per game.
Senior forward Luke Meyer will look to keep the momentum rolling against Bowling Green. In CMU’s 82-76 loss to Ball State, Meyer posted six 3-pointers, 26 points and 14 rebounds, all of which are career-highs.
“We see more of that and Luke’s going to have a tough decision at the end of the year with whether he wants to keep his basketball career or go right into engineering,” Davis said. “I’m really proud of the way he’s been able to get better over the years.”
During its four-game losing streak, CMU’s average margin of loss is seven points. Remaining in the game until the end reminds Davis the Chippewas are not far away from being able to beat anyone in the MAC.
“It’s difficult when everyone is so even in this conference,” Davis said. “The thing we talked about after the (Ball State) game is you can’t get down when you lose games where you’re so close. It would be a lot tougher to rebound if you lost by 20 or 30 points and you’re just not good enough.”
As for a shot to play in the NCAA Tournament, Davis believes his team still has a chance.
“If we can stay healthy, we have a shot,” Davis said. “Of all the teams I’ve seen, there’s not that much difference. There’s not much between us and those teams. In basketball, it’s a one-game chance to win. We knew we had a tough schedule to start the league when you play four-of-six on the road.”
The Falcons have dropped games to South Dakota, Abilene Christian, Evansville, Old Dominion, Miami (OH) and Akron. Bowling Green’s closest win was a 75-71 defeat of Eastern Michigan on the road in overtime.
“(Bowling Green) has done a nice job of building its program,” Davis said. “They’ve got guys who fit what they want to do.”
Junior forward Demajeo Wiggins has played in all 18 games for Bowling Green and leads the way, averaging a near double-double with 14.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.
Freshman guard Justin Turner leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 points per game. He also chips in a healthy number of rebounds and assists night in and night out.
Along with Wiggins and Turner, the Falcons see solid production from sophomore guards Dylan Frye and Rodrick Caldwell. Frye and Caldwell average 13.7 and 10.7 points per contest, respectively. Caldwell leads the team in assists, dishing out 53.
In the NCAA Division I RPI, Bowling Green is ranked No. 187 of 351 programs. CMU holds the No. 150 position, which is 54 spots worse than where the Chippewas were 10 days ago.
Buffalo, which holds a 14-5 record overall and 6-0 record in conference play, has the highest RPI rank in the MAC at No. 29.
“I don’t think there’s a (MAC) program out there that you could say isn’t headed in the right direction,” Davis said. “With Bowling Green just alike, you see a program that’s on the rise. If the conference gets ranked higher and higher, that shows the teams are doing what they should.”
Last season, CMU took down Bowling Green in its only meeting behind 55 total points from Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson. In the game, Keene scored 10 3-pointers en route to 28 points. In the game, Caldwell scored 19 points to lead the way for the Falcons.
In the last 10 meetings, the Chippewas have a 6-4 record against Bowling Green.