Men's basketball finds offensive runs, tops Jackson State

Senior guard Larry Austin Jr. calls out to his teammate to pass on Dec. 22 at McGuirk Arena.

After trailing for most of the first half and by as many as 11 points to Jackson State, the Central Michigan men's basketball team won 81-72 and earned its 10th victory.

JSU (2-10) came in with just a pair of wins and gave CMU all it could handle for the first half but CMU eventually started to shoot the ball better and took control to move onto 6-0 at McGuirk Arena.

"The most important thing about a game before break is you get a win," said head coach Keno Davis. "(JSU) has some guys who play really hard and it was good for us. The (Mid-American Conference) is as good as it ever has been and it is good for us to get tested like this before we get into conference play."

What happened

CMU opened the game shooting just 3-of-11 from the field and JSU went 6-of-9 to give themselves a 13-8 lead. That lead would hold until the 11:49 mark of the first half.

JSU didn't stop there. Following a 3-pointer from Lemmie Howard, the Tigers jumped out to a 22-11 lead crossing the midway mark of the first half. 

Senior guard Larry Austin Jr. found a layup and then transfer guard Dallas Morgan nailed a triple to pull CMU back within four points nearing six minutes left in the half. By halftime, CMU grabbed a pair of senior guard Shawn Roundtree free throws and posted a 35-34 lead.

CMU built that lead even higher right out of the break thanks to junior forward David DiLeo. He knocked down a pair of key triples plus an and-one bucket to lead CMU on a 9-0 run. The Chippewas led 49-40.

"You might be able to stay with us for awhile but we were able to speed it up and get out on the fast break," Davis said. "Jackson State wanted to keep it slow paced but we were able to change that."

That lead was never lost again and the Chippewas continued to build it. Following a 16-4 run, CMU took its first double digit lead of the game at 56-44. They held a lead by double figures until the final minute of regulation.

DiLeo and Roundtree each scored 21 points to lead the Chippewas. Austin and McKay both finished with 11 points, respectively. Austin also added seven assists to lead the team.

CMU allowed JSU to earn 15 offensive rebounds and were out-rebounded 39-34 overall. They were also out-scored in the paint 44-34. CMU won the game thanks to its large runs in the second half.

The Chippewas will return to action at 1 p.m. on Dec. 30 in McGuirk Arena when they welcome Indiana South Bend.