Men's basketball hosts MAC Tournament game, can advance to Cleveland
Riding a two-game winning streak into the Mid-American Conference Tournament, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team can book their trip to Cleveland with a win.
The No. 8-seeded Chippewas (18-13, 7-11 MAC) will host No. 9 Bowling Green (16-15, 7-11) at 7 p.m. on March 5 in McGuirk Arena.
This is the first time a MAC Tournament game has been hosted at McGuirk Arena. CMU is 6-7 in first round games and 15-23 overall in the MAC Tournament all-time.
CMU is coming off a 84-71 win against rival Western Michigan at Riepma Arena, which was rescheduled due to the shooting at Campbell Hall on CMU's campus March 2.
Transfer guard Shawn Roundtree, who scored a game-high 27 points against WMU, said he believes the incident has brought the team closer together.
“Our thing was to control the things we could control and be there for each other,” Roundtree said. “I think how we rallied together and came out with the win is a testament to how powerful a situation like this can be.”
Head coach Keno Davis said getting the chance to play at home for the first round is huge. CMU is 10-5 at home this season.
“It’ll be great to have a chance to send our seniors off the right way in front of the home crowd,” Davis said. “We’ve got guys on this team who are deserving of that chance and now they have a great chance to earn a win.”
If the Chippewas would've lost to WMU, they would've played on the road against Kent State who beat CMU earlier this season.
“We didn't have our best showing (at KSU) and it would've been tough to go back there,” said senior forward Luke Meyer. “Now, we get one last chance at McGuirk which should be emotional from a basketball standpoint.”
The winner of this matchup will play No. 1 Buffalo at noon on March 8 in Quicken Loans Arena.
The Falcons have been going in the opposite direction of the Chippewas recently, dropping their previous five games heading into the tournament.
BGSU is led by Michael Huger in his third year with the program. While two of the Falcons losses were by two or fewer points during the losing streak, they ended the season losing to its potential opponent next round (Buffalo) 100-70 to close the regular season.
The Falcons are No. 5 in the conference in scoring offense (75.9 points per game) but only average 71.2 points against MAC opponents. The offense features the 10th ranked scorer in the conference in redshirt freshman guard Justin Turner (15.8 points per game). Junior forward Demajeo Wiggins (14.1 points per game) and sophomore guard Dylan Frye (11.9 points per game) also average double figures.
BGSU is last in the MAC on scoring defense, allowing 77.7 points per game.
The first and only time these two programs collided this season, CMU overcame a 15-point second half deficit to pull out the 84-75 victory at the Stroh Center.
Roundtree led the comeback by scoring 17 of 19 points in the second half. Senior guard Josh Kozinski also scored 11 of his 14 points over the final 12 minutes of the game.
CMU is 2-1 all-time against BGSU in the MAC Tournament. The Chippewas defeated the Falcons in the 2003 quarterfinal round (87-70), eventually leading to a MAC Championship.