Late game woes return as men's basketball falls to Eastern Michigan


Senior forward Cecil Williams and Central Michigan head coach Keno Davis talk to the referee during the game against Eastern Michigan on Feb. 17 at McGuirk Arena. 

Shawn Roundtree said the Central Michigan men’s basketball team has a problem closing out games.

With 47 seconds left and a one-point CMU lead, Eagles senior guard Tim Bond made an acrobatic and-one shot to ice away a 72-67 victory for EMU on Jan. 17 in McGuirk Arena. CMU lose another close one. 

“I feel like we are just a couple of plays away from being a different team," said senior forward Luke Meyer. "If you watch our games, it's obvious we are really close, we are just one or two possesions from being better record wise."

The loss dropped the Chippewas (16-11, 5-9 Mid-American Conference) two games behind EMU (16-11, 7-7) for fourth place. CMU currently sits at fifth in the MAC West Division.

Davis called a quick timeout in the opening two minutes as CMU’s offense started slow, but they found a couple layups to make the score 6-4 EMU heading into the first media timeout.

Back from a right leg injury, transfer guard Gavin Peppers hit a 3-pointer to pull the Chippewas within one, 16-15, followed by a Meyer 3-pointer to give CMU the 18-16 lead with 9:17 left in the first half.

CMU extended that lead thanks to senior forward Cecil Williams who found an and-one bucket and then a step-back jumper to give the Chippewas a 29-20 lead nearing halftime.

The Eagles got a monster dunk from redshirt junior forward Elijah Minnie right before the break, cutting the Chippewas lead to 34-28 heading to the locker room.

The Chippewas had zero turnovers in the first half, which Davis was pleased about.

“I feel like our guys have the energy they need to be successful,” Davis said. “Sometimes we just need to be more aggressive on the court on offense and defense."

The Eagles continued to trim CMU’s lead to open the second half, getting a triple from Minnie to make the score 42-37 with 15:43 to go.

Meyer broke down the baseline for a jam followed by a transfer guard Shawn Roundtree 3-pointer to keep CMU up five, 52-47, with 9:14 left.

EMU kept coming though, as freshman guard Kevin McAdoo hit a corner 3-pointer to knot the game even at 52 all with less than eight minutes to go.

The game was still tied with less than four minutes to go, when senior guard Josh Kozinski bagged a 3-pointer to put CMU ahead 61-58, but EMU regained the lead at 62-61 with 2:05 remaining.

That’s when Bond drove to the lane and made the and-one bucket which essentially deflated any air CMU had left.

Sophomore guard Kevin McKay, who lead the team with 14 points, said the late game woes start with execution.

“When another team gets momentum down the stretch we need to learn not to fold," McKay said. "We need to bring out the stuff that was working for us in the first half."

The Chippewas will head back on the road to take on in-state rival Western Michigan at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 from Kalamazoo. 

Game notes

  • The Chippewas went scoreless in the final 47 seconds of regulation after EMU regained the lead.
  • James Thompson IV scored 22 points and 14 rebounds, giving him a double-double in both games against CMU this season.
  • With the win, the Eagles swept the season series against the Chippewas.