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Chippewa men crumble down stretch, drop third straight

Lowell junior Matt Beachler goes for a reverse layup against Kent State Tuesday, Jan. 12, in McGuirk Arena.

Junior forward Malik Muhammad notched his first-career double-double against Kent State on Tuesday. 

Muhammad scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead CMU despite fouling out with 3:40 to play. 

However, it wasn't enough as the Chippewas fell to the Golden Flashes 94-85 on Tuesday in McGuirk Arena in Mid-American Conference men's basketball.

The Chippewas (5-7, 1-4) dropped their third-consecutive Mid-American Conference game after losing both games to Bowling Green last week.

“We knew (today) was going to be a tough matchup for us,” said head coach Keno Davis. “To be able to outrebound Kent State and match their physicality is a really good sign for us in the future.”

Muhammad said he was not satisfied with his performance.

“My confidence probably won’t be (at it’s peak) until we win,” Muhammad said. “Even if I get 20 rebounds it doesn’t matter. I just want to win.”

When he Los Angeles, California native fouled out in the late stages of Tuesday's game, he was frustrated watching the game unfold on the sideline. 

“I could tell what kind of impact I had on the game today,” Muhammad said. “I know I could’ve made a difference during (the final) stretch. It was frustrating, but I trust my teammates.” 

Tuesday marked the third game in a row with at least 10 rebounds for Muhammad.

Trailing 48-38 with 1:28 remaining in the first half, CMU mustered a 7-0 run behind five points from Travon Broadway Jr. to cut their deficit to three at intermission. The second half would display a back-and-forth matchup with eight lead changes and seven ties.

Muhammad earned his fourth foul of the game with 5:52 left to play. The Golden Flashes pounced on CMU with their starting forward forced to sit, igniting a 12-3 run which featured eight points from Danny Pippen and four Chippewa turnovers.

When Muhammad fouled out, the Flashes sparked a 16-9 run to close the game.

Broadway scored a team-best 20 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Pippen finished with a game-high 28 points to go along with 11 rebounds for the Golden Flashes.

Despite their third straight conference loss, Davis said he believes that the Chippewas can still find success this season with 15 games remaining.

“I don’t think we’re as good as we’re going to be in the next month if we stay healthy,” Davis said. “I think you see some players being able to shine in certain areas and you see some players that are struggling. They have to be able to try and improve as we get healthier.”

CMU hosts in-state rival Eastern Michigan at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in McGuirk Arena before starting three-straight road games.