Men's basketball stung by Western Illinois in home opener


Looking to terminate its four-game losing streak, Central Michigan's men's basketball welcomed fans back into McGuirk Arena for the Chippewas home opener against Western Illinois.

CMU was out played by the Leathernecks 97-70 at McGuirk Arena on Sunday.

The Chippewas are now 1-7 and the Leathernecks progress to 8-2 on the season. 

“We have got to have more guys produce and perform when the lights are on and the other team's good players are on the floor,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “We did struggle with the fouls that took a lot of possessions away from us, and they outshot us because the ball was taken away from us because of those foul calls. We got to play our aggressive side of defense without fouling and causing us a loss of possession.”

CMU was without leading scorer Jermaine Jackson Jr., who missed Sunday's game with the flu. 

With 11 Chippewas playing their first regular-season home game in McGuirk, WIU scored the games first 10 points. The Leathernecks would own the first half thanks to Chippewa miscues. 

CMU committed 15 turnovers and 19 personal fouls. In return, WIU shot 11-of-16 from long range, 54 percent from the floor and 14-of-18 from the free-throw line in the opening 20 minutes for a 59-31 Leathernecks lead.

WIU cooled off from beyond the arc, but remained the aggressor to open the second half. The Chippewas trailed by 44 points with 12:34 remaining, but their fight never wavered. CMU outscored the visitors 39-38 and committed four turnovers in the second stanza.

Leathernecks junior guard Colton Sandage had a game-high 25 points and four assists. Not far behind was Cameron Healy with a team-high 24 points off the bench for the Chippewas. Kevin Miller had 15 points for the Chippewas and a team-best six assists. Freshman center Nicolas Paverette led the team with six rebounds. 

WIU scored 25 points off CMU's 19 turnovers. CMU shot 25-of-52 from the floor, 11-of-19 from 3-point range and had 41 of its 70 points scored by bench players. 

The Chippewas will take on Youngstown State at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Youngstown, Ohio