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Kevin McKay leads Central Michigan to victory over Sam Houston State

McKay dropped 17 points in an 'under the radar' performance to secure the win

Central Michigan guard Kevin McKay dives to the floor to secure a loose ball against Sam Houston State Nov. 16 at Mcguirk Arena.

Kevin McKay has flown under the radar for the most part in his time at Central Michigan.

McKay, a senior guard from Warren, did so again while playing an integral role Saturday in the Central Michigan men's basketball team's 84-77 win over Sam Houston State in McGuirk Arena. 

Shooting 66% from the field and without shooting a 3-pointer, McKay was able to score a game-high 17 points alongside fellow senior David DiLeo. 

McKay was 5 of 5 from the free throw line, added three rebounds, a steal and a block. 

"It just shows you his talent level," said coach Keno Davis. "He gave great energy on the defensive end. More times than not, he comes up big, and you like that veteran leadership in Kevin McKay." 

SHSU was able to jump out to a hot start by taking an eight-point lead in the first half and leading by as many as 12 points in the first 20 minutes. 

McKay said that the Bearkats did not want a single player in Central Michigan's lineup to have a big scoring night. Rather, the Chippewas (3-0) were able to spread the wealth. 

"It's important we had contributions from everyone," McKay said. "It happened to be me and David, but everyone on our team stepped up in every facet."

In a first half where Central Michigan had eight turnovers, allowed 11 points off of those turnovers and shot just 25% from the floor, Davis said the team remained poised and he was impressed. 

"There's really good things on the horizon for this team," Davis said. "We're not near an unfinished product, and the fans saw that tonight. But you see glimpses of a team that can be special." 

Outside of McKay and DiLeo, guards Travon Broadway Jr. and Dallas Morgan both finished in double figures as each scored 12 points. 

DiLeo said depth is a big part of why Central Michigan was able to score a big win over a competitive Sam Houston State team. 

"Once we came together as a team … we opened up the transition game," DiLeo said. "We were able to force them into foul trouble and turnovers, that was big." 

As the first half went along and the Chippewas were down by double digits, the team could have hit the proverbial panic button and lost all composure and lost the game.

DiLeo said panicking was never an option. 

"We stayed poised and stayed together," DiLeo said. "When we stay poised and stay together, things happen and we're able to get on our run and that's when we can finish the game." 

McKay said that he learned about the team through the tough victory after a strong individual performance. 

"We have more than one way to beat a team," McKay said. "If we're not hitting shots, not hitting free throws, we can do it defensively and vice versa." 

Next, the Chippewas begin a four-game stretch in seven days. The first game comes at 7 p.m. Monday against Siena Heights in McGuirk Arena.