Twice over: Chippewas, Falcons battle second time this week
Playing the same team twice in a week happens rarely in college basketball.
Yet again, much of the 2020-21 season happens rarely in college basketball.
Central Michigan and Bowling Green faced off Saturday in McGuirk Arena with the Falcons taking the 93-65 win similar to the matchup on Tuesday in in the Stroh Center, which the Falcons won 90-69.
Due to changes made by the Mid-American Conference to accommodate teams affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chippewas and Falcons played their two scheduled matchups in a single week.
CMU was originally scheduled to play at Akron on Jan. 5, before the game was moved to Jan. 1, before being postponed due to COVID-19 issues at Akron. Saturday's game against the Falcons was originally scheduled.
Saturday marked the first time CMU played the same MAC opponent in back-to-back games in the regular season.
CMU playing a team twice in a row has happened twice before, but both of the back-end games were played in the MAC Tournament. The last time it happened, CMU beat Western Michigan in Kalamazoo on March 8, 2019, before beating the Broncos 81-67 in McGuirk Arena in the opening round of the conference tournament.
While coaches and players roll with the punches each game and each year, the challenges of playing the same team twice in a week -- especially the best team in the Mid-American Conference -- was one the Chippewas (5-6, 1-3 MAC) struggled with in Saturday's matchup with the Falcons (9-2, 5-0 MAC).
Senior guard Devontae Lane said he had never played the same team twice in a row during the regular season.
"When you play a team back-to-back, everyone knows everyone," Lane said. "Everyone is well-scouted and you get more and more of the play calls after the first game."
Travelling to Bowling Green is a nearly three-hour journey from Mount Pleasant, so the Chippewas left Wednesday morning to make their way for shootaround, leading into the game itself and travelling the three hours up US-23 and US-127, arriving home early Thursday morning.
Then, the Chippewas went through practice and workouts the rest of the week -- like normal -- getting ready for the same opponent after getting a crack at that team earlier in the week.
CMU coach Keno Davis said typically, teams don't travel day of the game but with the COVID-19 restrictions and precautions, he team has needed to do so.
"(We're) happy to be fortunate enough to play basketball," Davis said. "There are things we're going to have to fight through. There are a lot of excuses out there as to why we weren't successful today, but we're looking at it long-term and this team has a lot of talent."