Shorthanded Chippewas thrashed by RedHawks
Murphy’s law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
The 2020-21 Chippewas are no strangers to Murphy’s law, and Tuesday’s 96-54 Mid-American Conference loss to Miami (Ohio) in McGuirk Arena is no exception.
CMU (6-13, 2-10 MAC) have lost their sixth straight conference game, eight of their last nine, and played the RedHawks (10-9, 7-7 MAC) with only nine players available following four-straight postponements.
The Chippewas were without freshman forward Aundre Polk and senior guards DeVontae Lane and Travon Broadway Jr. for their first game in 17 days. Redshirt junior forward Ralph Bissainthe and redshirt sophomore guard PJ Mitchell earned their first career starts.
The Chippewas practiced with as few as six players while using only half a practice court leading up to Tuesday’s loss.
“Much like you see other teams across the country early in the season who got shut down for a few weeks, those teams that didn’t have the practices, didn’t have their legs, didn’t resemble the team that they were or the team they were going to be, and I think you saw that tonight,” said head coach Keno Davis. “It’s a tough thing for anybody to go through a game like that, but we understand why it happened and not a whole lot you can do about it other than try to get better and use (Tuesday’s loss) as a learning experience to even work harder and get better.”
Redshirt junior guard Matt Beachler was the Chippewas longest-tenured available player Tuesday.
“Obviously, that was a tough one,” Beachler said. “The first half did not go the way we wanted it to go. Second half we showed a little bit of fight and kept it close second half scoring. We have to stay together and keep trying to push forward.”
CMU is now 22-53 All-time against the RedHawks and have dropped six of the last 10 regular season matchups.
A Beachler 3-Pointer put the Chippewas within six points with 13:17 left in the first half. The RedHawks responded with a pair of long-range shots expand their lead to 12 points. Junior forward Miekkel Murray’s jumper put CMU within 10 points with 12:08 remaining.
Miami responded to Murray’s basket with a 22-0 run to open a 45-14 lead with 3:30 left in the first half. Murray snapped CMU’s 8:57 scoreless slump with a jumper with 3:11 remaining until halftime. The RedHawks finished the opening 20 minutes on a 13-2 run to claim a 58-18 advantage at intermission.
CMU finished 6-of-27 from the floor and 2-of-15 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 minutes while losing the rebounding battle 29-9.
Murray finished with a team-leading 16 points and six rebounds. Bissainthe added 14 points and Caleb Huffman contributed 13 points off the bench.
Miami’s Dae Dae Grant earned a game-beast 25 points.
CMU finished 17-of-52 from the floor, 5-of-24 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 50-27. The RedHawks finished 38-of-73 from the floor, 18-of-35 from long range, and had 43 of their 96 points come from the bench.
The Chippewas are currently slated to play their final road games of the season. CMU clashes with Buffalo at 2 p.m. Thursday and travels to Muncie, Indiana to play Ball State at 2 p.m. Saturday.
TEAM MAC OVERALL
Toledo 13-3 18-6
Akron 12-4 14-5
Kent State 11-4 14-5
Ohio 8-4 12-6
Buffalo 7-5 9-7
Bowling Green 8-7 12-9
Miami 7-7 10-9
Ball State 5-8 7-11
Western Michigan 3-9 4-13
Central Michigan 2-10 6-13
Eastern Michigan 1-8 4-9
Northern Illinois 1-9 2-13