Kozinski leads men's basketball to third conference win
Josh Kozinski's career-high 24 points led the Central Michigan men’s basketball team to an 81-67 win over Northern Illinois on Jan. 30 in McGuirk Arena.
With Kozinski's career-high eight 3-pointer performance, he passed former CMU guard Braylon Rayson as the Chippewas' all-time 3-point leader with 275 career made 3-pointers.
“My grandpa had a big surgery today, so I knew I had to take care of business for him," Kozinski said. "I was locked in mentally and get that off my back while I knew he was watching."
This is the third straight year a player has broken the 3-point program record, dating back to John Simons in the 2015-16 season before Rayson broke it last season.
The win saved the Chippewas (14-8, 3-6 Mid-American Conference) from being swept on a three-game home-stand and improved their home record to 9-3 on the season.
CMU head coach Keno Davis believes his team's chemistry led to better ball flow, and that's why Kozinski had more open shots.
“I don't want to make an excuse, but with (Kozinski's) injury earlier this year it had him off with his shot and he had a lot of new faces out there with him," Davis said. "Tonight, the open shots were there for him and we had to take advantage."
Two 3-pointers from transfer guard Shawn Roundtree and sophomore forward David DiLeo had CMU out to a 6-2 lead.
The Huskies missed eight consecutive shots and CMU added four more 3-pointers, giving the Chippewas a 26-15 lead with 7:39 left in the first half.
The Chippewas had six 3-pointers in the opening 13 minutes.
By the end of the half, CMU drained nine 3-pointers from six different players and held a 41-23 at halftime.
Kozinski started the second half by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to extend the CMU lead to 47-26.
Eugene German, the MAC’s leading scorer, brought the Huskies within 14 points, but another Kozinski triple and transfer guard Gavin Peppers layup gave CMU a 55-38 lead with less than 12 minutes to play.
The Huskies never got back within single digits of the Chippewas' lead.
Outside of Kozinski’s 24-point night, DiLeo had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds while senior forward Cecil Williams neared a double-double with 13 points and nine rebounds.
DiLeo said the team has been talking about starting games better.
“We've been working on trying to put together a full 40 minutes of basketball and tonight we did a better job of that," DiLeo said.
The Chippewas will head back on the road to face Ohio at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the Convocation Center in Athens, Ohio.
- NIU didn't lead the entire game.
- The 17 made 3-pointers and 41 attempted was a MAC-high in both categories for the Chippewas.
- The Chippewas had eight different players score, but only seven points came from the bench.