Men's basketball blows past Ohio, opens MAC play with a win
Before the season began, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team was projected to finish last in the Mid-American Conference West Division.
Tonight, the Chippewas opened MAC play with a statement win.
The Chippewas (12-2, 1-0 MAC) blew the Bobcats (7-6, 0-1 MAC) out of the gym with a 75-50 victory on Tuesday night in McGuirk Arena.
Head coach Keno Davis said he was proud of how his team played against what he called one of the conference's best offenses.
“Coming into the season we knew how much talent there is up and down this league,” Davis said. “Ohio is one of those teams with a powerful offense, and the way we handled them tonight says a lot about the effort our guys are giving every night. I’m really proud of them.”
CMU earned their fourth consecutive win and stayed a perfect at home with an 8-0 record.
The Bobcats made their first three shots but senior forward Cecil Williams answered with three buckets of his own, leading to a tie at 12 all before the first break.
Senior forward Luke Meyer recieved a bounce pass from sophomore forward David DiLeo for a one-handed dunk to give CMU a 16-14 lead with 11:56 to play in the first half.
The Chippewas would respond with a 10-2 run highlighted by a pair of buckets from transfer guard Shawn Roundtree to give CMU a 24-16 lead with 7:48 left in the opening half.
The teams would essentially trade buckets heading into halftime, with the score resulting in favor of CMU 37-31.
Williams and DiLeo each had 11 points to lead the Chippewas in scoring, while Ohio’s senior guard Mike Laster led everyone with 12 points.
The Chippewas forced 11 Bobcat turnovers and coughed up seven of their own, while out-rebounding Ohio 18-15. CMU shot 46.2 percent (12-of-26) from the field and was 33.3 percent (3-of-9) from deep.
To open the second half the Chippewas kept the the hot offensive performance, the Bobcats didn’t.
Roundtree would hit a 3-pointer forcing Ohio into an early second half timeout, as CMU held its largest lead of the game, 44-31 early in the second half.
Meyer and transfer guard Gavin Peppers hit back-to-back triples, extending the CMU run to 15-0 out of the locker room, giving them a 52-31 advantage with 14:12 to go.
The three leading scorers for the Chippewas (DiLeo, Roundtree, Williams) combined for 50 of the Chippewas 75 points. DiLeo led the way with 22 points and six made 3-pointers
DiLeo said so far this season it has been the support of his coaches and teammates that is helping improve his offense.
“I have a lot of confidence in my shot and it starts with everyone around me having confidence in me,” DiLeo said. “I know they are always giving me the green light and I’m going to keep taking the open shots.”
The Chippewas forced 17 turnovers tonight, which Davis called “the most important stat of the game”. They also out-rebounded Ohio 44-35, with 12 of them coming on offense.
Williams said it was a good way to start MAC play and it says something about this team in a positive way.
“I think it shows where this team is heading and it’s the right way,” Williams said. “We know what we are capable of, it’s about stringing these wins together now.”
CMU shot 42.2 percent from the field and 35.7 percent (10-of-28) from deep. They held the Bobcats to 35.7 percent from the floor and 15 percent (3-of-20) from beyond the arc.
With DiLeo hitting a majority of those 3-pointers, Davis said his efforts so far this season “changes the look of the team” and he and the coaching staff knew it was coming.
“Last season you would see David make some big shots here and there, now you are just seeing them more often,” David said. “We knew back when we recruited him what he was capable of, now he’s showing it.”
- CMU had three 3-pointers in the first half. The Chippewas made five 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the second half.
- The Bobcats scored a season low 50 points.
- Senior forward DaRohn Scott was not seen at the game tonight. When asked about his future with the team, Davis declined to comment