Balanced offensive attack leads men's basketball to better results

Junior forward David DiLeo goes up for a shot against Eastern Michigan University on Jan. 29 in McGuirk Arena.

As the final buzzer sounded at McGuirk Arena on Feb. 16, the Central Michigan men's basketball team walked away with an 87-80 victory over the Ohio Bobcats. The Chippewas played a well-rounded game, with each of their starters point totals ending in double-digits. 

The most eye-popping stat when looking at the final box score was not the 80 percent free throw shooting that helped solidify the win, but instead the 5-for-18 from behind the 3-point line. 

Even shooting just under 28 percent from beyond the arc, the Chippewas found other ways to get it done against Ohio.

In prior seasons, the basketball team has lived and died by the triple at times. Even as recently as last year, when as a team the Chippewas launched over 1000 3-point attempts. The team shot a respectable 34 percent from behind the arc and averaged 78.8 points per game.

This year CMU is averaging nearly 84 points per game. However, the 3-point shot isn't the main source for its points as it normally has under head coach Keno Davis. 

CMU is guaranteed seven remaining games including one MAC Tournament contest. They are on pace to make 272 triples. Last season, the Chippewas knocked down 356 of them.

So what’s changed for the Chippewas?

The 8.5 3-pointers made per game are a slight decrease from the 9.9 last year, but the team is also seeing a slight uptick in their 3-point percentage this year, shooting 36 percent. The added difference for CMU is scoring inside the arc.

In 2017-18, CMU made 953 2-pointers in 36 games. This season in just 32 guaranteed games, the Chippewas are on pace to make 914. Essentially, CMU is scoring in more ways than just one.

“That’s the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team," Davis said. "Last year’s team couldn’t go 5-for-18 from 3 and win games because we were so reliant on the 3-point shot.

“A few years ago or even last year, that wouldn’t have been 5-for-18, that would’ve been 5-for-30.”

Davis credits his team’s discipline to drive into the lane and finish through contact for the change in this year’s team.

When shots aren’t falling from deep, this team is finding other ways to get points. This makes CMU more well-rounded than in years past.

So far, it has resulted in CMU's win total reaching 17 with seven games to go. Last season the Chippewas won 21 times in 36 attempts.

The numbers speak for themselves — the Chippewas balanced attack is helping them earn more wins.