Men's basketball advances to Cleveland with overtime win


Central Michigan mens basketball team huddle during the game on March 5 at McGuirk Arena. 

In the first-ever Mid-American Conference Tournament game at McGuirk Arena, Central Michigan men’s basketball team pulled out a win in overtime. 

CMU (19-13, 8-11 MAC) started overtime on a 6-0 run to result in a 81-77 win for the Chippewas on March 5 in McGuirk Arena.

The win moved the Chippewas into the second round where they will take on top-seeded Buffalo at noon on March 8 in Quicken Loans Arena.

"We came into this season knowing this was a learning year, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be great year," said head coach Keno Davis. "We talked about if we could make it to Cleveland, we could make some noise. Fortunately, we are playing our best basketball now and were going to find out soon if it's good enough." 

The game started with back-to-back 3-pointers from senior forward Luke Meyer, but the Falcons responded with a 7-3 run to close the gap. 

Sophomore guard Kevin McKay sunk the last 3-pointer to give the Chippewas a 19-16 lead at the 10 minute mark.

With less than four minutes to play in the opening half, sophomore forward David DiLeo sunk a corner triple to give the Chippewas their largest lead at 29-22.

The Falcons would end the half on a 5-0 run and trim the Chippewas lead to 32-29 at halftime.

Both teams were exchanging blows to start the second half, knocking down 3-pointer after 3-pointer. The series was capped off by a Falcons guard Justin Turner layup to tie the game at 41.

Senior forward Cecil Williams gave a nice feed to Meyer for a look at a 3-pointer he nailed to give CMU back the lead 51-50. It forced a BGSU timeout with 9:04 to go.

"I don't want to say it's a blessing we lost those close games, but we learned a lot from them," said senior guard Josh Kozinski. "I think this team has matured to close out games, knowing how it feels to lose those close games."

DiLeo knocked down a pair of free throws right before a CMU timeout, tying the score at 59 all with 4:30 left in the contest.

Roundtree fought through traffic to put home a layup with under a minute to play, evening the score up at 65. The Falcons called a timeout with 34.9 remaining and the ball.

After a BGSU turnover with 19.9 seconds to go, Williams had a chance to win it but missed a step-back triple as time expired with the score knotted at 65 all.

In overtime the Chippewas started with a 6-0 run and never lost the lead.

Williams led CMU with 18 points, 12 of which came in the second half and overtime. Meyer (16), McKay (14), Roundtree (15) and DiLeo (12) all scored in double figures.

"We feel like we owe (Buffalo) one," Meyer said. "They stole one from us here at home earlier this season, no one is giving us a chance but we will come in ready to surprise some people."

Game notes

  • CMU has won three consecutive games.
  • BGSU out-rebounded CMU 44-35 and 18-10 on the offensive glass.
  • CMU's starters scored 66 points.