Men's hoops bombarded by No. 1 Gonzaga
After earning a buzzer-beating win over Eastern Illinois seven days prior, Central Michigan men’s basketball clashed with No. 1 Gonzaga to cap off day one of the Good Sam Empire Classic.
The final score would not mirror the Nov. 15 finish as the Chippewas fell to the reigning national runner-up 107-54 on Monday in Las Vegas.
CMU is now 1-3 on the season. The Bulldogs remain undefeated and have now won their last 31 regular-season games.
“We showed some toughness in the end, but (Gonzaga is) the number one team in the nation for a reason,” said assistant coach Shane Heirman. “There’s plenty of things to clean up. We’ll go back, watch some film and put this on in the rear-view mirror as fast as we can.”
The 107 points are the most allowed in a regular season game by CMU since a 122-121 double-overtime loss to Ohio on Feb. 5, 1998. The Chippewas 54 points are the least amount scored since Jan. 27, 2015, a 63-53 loss at Kent State.
How it Happened
Gonzaga opened with an intensity that was initially unmatched by CMU, scoring 16 of the game’s first 19 points. The Chippewas responded with a 14-9 run to trail 25-17 with 11:06 left in the first half.
The Bulldogs continued to fluster CMU behind a 27-6 run to take a 52-25 lead with 2:30 left in the first half. Junior Oscar Lopez Jr. and freshman Kevin Miller rallied the Chippewas with a 9-4 run to close the opening stanza to put the deficit at 56-32.
CMU was out-rebounded 23-10, finished 11-of-27 from the floor, committed 10 turnovers and was outscored 40-6 in the paint in the first half.
Gonzaga continued to prove why they are the top team in the land in the second half, opening the stanza on a 3-12 run to claim an 87-44 lead with 9:37 left. A 6-4 Chippewa run pulled CMU within 41, but the Bulldogs scored 16 of the final 20 points to topple CMU in the first meeting the first meeting between the schools.
Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren finished with a game-best 20 points.
Graduate student Harrison Henderson was the only Chippewa to score 10 points, finishing with 11 and four personal fouls.
The Bulldogs shot 61 percent from the floor in the first half and 56.8 percent for the game. CMU finished 7-of-14 from beyond the arc in the opening 20 and 9-of-23 overall.
The Chippewas have committed at least 10 turnovers in all four of their games this season.
Gonzaga scored over 100 points for the first time this season. The Bulldogs also won the rebounding battle 51-23, the turnover battle 17-10 and never trailed.
The Chippewas finish the Good Sam Empire Classic at 8 p.m. Tuesday against Bellarmine.