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Chippewa men fall at home to Eastern Michigan

Central Michigan guard Travon Broadway Jr. waits for a teammate to inbound the ball Feb. 11 at McGuirk Arena.

As the final seconds ticked off the clock, Travon Broadway Jr. launched a desperate shot to try and tie the game. 

The ball ricocheted off the backboard as the clock hit zero as the Central Michigan men’s basketball team lost its second straight game. 

The Chippewas lost 73-70 against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday in McGuirk Arena. CMU has lost back-to-back Mid-American Conference games after Friday’s loss to Buffalo. 

Though a tight game, Central Michigan lead Eastern Michigan in 3-point shots, with CMU making 14-of-30 (46.7 percent) from beyond the arc, compared to EMU’s 6-of-18 (33.3 percent).

EMU quickly found its way around CMU’s defense, finishing with 40 points from the paint, while CMU only had 14. Throughout the game, CMU struggled to drive to the basket and take high-percentage shots against EMU’s 2-3 zone defense. 

Coach Keno Davis said he knew Eastern Michigan (13-11, 3-8) would put up a strong fight against the Chippewas (13-10, 6-4) from its recent wins against Toledo and Buffalo, along with CMU not having guards Dallas Morgan and Devontae Lane for Tuesday’s game. 

“We had other guys that stepped up and I thought played well, but I think that it was not only the talent of those guys but the depth,” Davis said. “We were able to win games going into this week because of our depth, being able to go to our bench and not have much drop-off, if any.”

The Eagles outsized the Chippewas and played the game slowly, which allowed EMU to catch CMU jogging back several times on defense.

The Eagles had 36 rebounds over the Chippewas, who had 28.  

“Our scout team did a really good job of getting the rotations down, but it’s impossible to simulate that length,” said senior forward David DiLeo. “(Eastern Michigan) disrupts your offense, they almost lull you to sleep, they like to play slow, and that’s where they got us with a couple transition buckets.”

Junior guard Deschon Winston, who faced the Eagles for the first time in his career, agreed that some of EMU’s bigger players were not easy to match up with.

“Their length is something you can’t really practice on because they’re long in every position, especially with a 7-footer (Boubacar Toure) standing down in the paint,” Winston said. “It’s hard to emulate that in practice.”

With the absence of Lane, who has an undisclosed injury to his foot, Winston stepped into his role. Alongside him was Travon Broadway Jr., who played in Morgan’s starting position, who did not play due to flu-like symptoms. 

“I feel like we’re all starters on our team,” Winston said. “When one person goes down, the next person steps up. Dallas was out, he (Broadway) stepped up and played like a starter today.”

The Chippewas and the Eagles kept close scores in the first half, but EMU pulled away in the second half, giving them a 10-point lead over CMU. 

In the one-minute span leading up to the end of the game, Central Michigan fought hard to turn the tides, resulting in the final score of 73-70.

Despite the close loss, Davis and the team is  reds to push on and move on t learn from the experience.

“To be able to move forward, I think we could use this game as something that we can improve upon,” Davis said. “We see some things that we need to get better at, and we’re looking forward to getting back to the practice court.”  

The Chippewas look to bounce back quickly as they are take on Akron at 7 p.m. Friday at McGuirk Arena.