Men's basketball wants to improve in lone meeting with Akron
It wasn't the result the Central Michigan men’s basketball team wanted on Feb. 7 against Buffalo, but head coach Keno Davis found some positives from the 88-82 loss.
“We gave ourselves a chance and we need improve as we continue on this season, but there are also some areas we know we can improve in immediately and that’s positive,” Davis said. “Maybe, we are even a little better than I thought.”
The loss snapped the Chippewas two-game win streak and dropped them to 15-9 overall and 4-7 in Mid-American Conference play. The Chippewas remain in fifth place of the MAC West Division.
CMU never got it going from 3-point distance — shooting just 8-of-34 from beyond the arc against the Bulls.
“We shoot the ball with confidence, but today they just didn't fall,” said transfer guard Shawn Roundtree. “It’s up to us to get back in the gym and put up more shots so next time they will go in. We are more than confident we can get those to fall.”
Roundtree scored 20 points in the loss. He was just behind senior forward Cecil Williams who led all scorers with 23 points.
“I think we have shown that we are more than capable to play with anyone in this conference,” Roundtree said. “It just comes down to each possession and we need to capitalize more.”
CMU will have a chance to bounce back on the road against Akron at 2 p.m. on Feb. 10 in James A. Rhodes Arena.
“We have to stop coming from behind,” Roundtree said. “Every team in the league is very good, very methodical. We can compete with them, Akron being next, but we need to start better.”
For last season’s runner up in the MAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed, this season is a bit different.
The Zips (10-13, 3-8) are currently tied for last in the MAC East Division with Ohio and are on a four-game losing skid.
The Zips rank No. 10 in scoring offense (72.5 points per game) and defense (76 points per game), bringing their scoring margin to last place at minus-3.5.
Sophomore forward Daniel Utomi leads the team in scoring and is No. 9 in the MAC at 15.4 points per game. Junior guard Jimond Ivey leads the team with six rebounds and 3.6 assists per game while scoring 13.9 points per game.
For the second consecutive year, the Chippewas and Zips will only meet once. Last season, the two teams made the only matchup a thriller in Mount Pleasant.
The scoring tandem of former CMU guards Marcus Keene and Braylon Rayson combined for 50 points, with a Keene layup giving CMU the 81-80 lead with 3:01 to go.
But Isaiah Johnson, who scored a career-high 33 points, scored a layup less than 20 seconds later to give the Zips the 82-81 lead they would never relinquish. Eventually Akron went on to win 89-85.