Central Michigan uses offense to take down Mississippi Valley State
Senior forward Rob Montgomery drove past his defender and rose toward the basket for a dunk. He held the ball in his left hand high above his head and prepared for a thunderous slam.
But he missed it.
The ball bounced off the rim and straight out to senior guard Dallas Morgan, who came to the rescue and swished a 3-pointer.
It was Morgan's third triple of the first half and put the Chippewas up 39-27. The lead swelled to 69-42 at halftime, and Central Michigan coasted to a 134-78 victory Sunday afternoon at McGuirk Arena.
Morgan finished with 17 points to go with his seven rebounds. Senior forward David DiLeo was the top scorer, finishing with a career-high 30 points on six 3-pointers. Montgomery also added 17 points.
"My teammates have all the trust in me in the world," DiLeo said after the win. "They told me to keep shooting, so they're looking for me."
The Delta Devils took a 9-6 lead early following a layup by freshman forward Gebreal Samaha, but Morgan nailed a triple to knot the score, and the Chippewas led the rest of the contest following a Montgomery free throw.
Mississippi Valley State cut the Chippewa lead to nine after a jumper from senior guard Michael Green. However, the Chippewas answered when junior guard Travon Broadway Jr. came up with one of his four steals and fed Montgomery for the first of a pair of dunks in the first half.
"We're gonna be quicker than a lot of teams," Montgomery said. "If we can get up and press teams and get turnovers that gets us momentum."
The Delta Devils cut their deficit to nine points, but Central Michigan closed the half on a 33-18 run over the final 8:07 of the first half to take a 27 point lead into the break.
In the second half, it was more of the same.
Seven Chippewas finished in double figures, including junior guards DeVontae Lane and Deschon Winston who finished with 14 and 16 points, respectively. Senior guard Kevin McKay had 13 points.
"We don't have just the defensive stopper or the shooter or just the rebounder," coach Keno Davis said of his bench. "When we have mismatches we're going to be able to take advantage."
The second stanza gave fans a look at the Chippewas second unit, as Winston spent a majority of the time running the point.
Junior forward Romelo Burrell finished with four points to go with a career-high 11 rebounds, while senior guard Corey Redman netted a pair of 3-pointers and scored 10 points.
Central Michigan outrebounded the Delta Devils 60-37 with 22 of those boards coming on the offensive side of the floor. They forced 23 turnovers while committing just six.
"They were up pressuring the ball," Davis said. "So for us not having that many turnovers, that's something we can take as a real positive this early in the year."
Davis added that the team focused on winning the rebound battle emphatically after only outrebounding Michigan-Dearborn by two.
With the win, the Chippewas improve to 2-0 on the season, while the Delta Devils fall to 0-3.
Central Michigan next takes the court on Nov. 16 when it welcomes Sam Houston State to McGuirk Arena.