Men’s basketball starts three-game home stand against Miami (Ohio)
Following a four-game slump in Mid-American Conference action, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team responded with a 84-75 win on the road at Bowling Green on Jan. 20.
The Chippewas (13-6, 2-4 MAC) will look to continue conference success against Miami (Ohio) (10-9, 3-3) at 7 p.m. on Jan. 23 at McGuirk Arena.
“Just because we win a game doesn't mean we are the best team in the league,” CMU head coach Keno Davis said. “We are just trying to get better and if we can keep improving there is no way we can’t be a really good team by March.”
Earlier this week, CMU senior forward Luke Meyer was named the Mid-American Conference West Division Co-Player of the Week, along with Toledo senior guard Tre’Shaun Fletcher.
Against Ball State and Bowling Green, Meyer averaged a near double-double, logging 21.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
Along with Meyer, senior forward Cecil Williams has been a key factor for the Chippewas, averaging 14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists.
CMU sophomore forward David DiLeo, who averages the most minutes per game, has been in a shooting slump, averaging 8.6 points over the last five games. Over that stretch, he has only managed to make 25.8 percent of his 3-point opportunities.
“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.”
Junior guard Shawn Roundtree scores in a team-leading 14.8 points and 3.9 assists night in and night out. He is ranked No. 70 in the NCAA in free throw percentage, making 77-of-90 shots from the charity stripe for an 85.6 percent rate.
In spite of early conference struggles Davis wants to take his team to the NCAA Tournament. He believes anyone in the MAC 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 RedHawks have dropped games to Hartford, Tulane, Austin Peay, Missouri, DePaul, Ohio State, Western Michigan, Buffalo and Bowling Green this season. In its 72-59 loss to Big Ten Conference opponent Ohio State, Miami hung around until the end but the Buckeyes managed to pull away for the victory.
Freshman guard Nike Sibande leads the way for Miami with 14.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game. He averages a team-high 31.8 minutes.
Besides Sibande, the only other RedHawk in double-digit scoring is junior guard Darrian Ringo, posting 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists per contest.
In the NCAA Division I RPI, Miami is ranked No. 129 of 351 programs. CMU holds the No. 136 position, which is 14 spots higher than where the Chippewas were last week.
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. 28.
Last season, CMU split with Miami, winning 101-92 at home on Jan. 17 and falling 81-76 on the road on Feb. 11. In the home victory, Marcus Keene scored 50 points on 10 3-pointers to lead the Chippewas.
In the last 10 meetings, the RedHawks have a 7-3 record against CMU.