CMU men's basketball drops its first game back in two weeks to Akron

North Miami senior Ralph Bissainthe dunks against Akron, Tuesday, Jan. 25, in McGuirk Arena.


It's been two weeks since Central Michigan Men’s basketball took the court due to COVID-19 safety protocols prohibiting the Chippewas from continuing the Mid-American Conference play.

After falling to the Akron Zips of Ohio 60-56 on Tuesday the Chippewas are now 1-3 in the MAC and the Zips improve to 6-2. 

“I am proud of the way the guys have stayed together under a lot of adversity in the last two to three weeks where we haven't had the ability to go five on five in practice, but they stayed working in our short numbers and stayed in shape,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “We got the opportunity to play like we did tonight against Akron. We were able to get on the floor and have our legs under us a little bit, our timing was a little bit off, execution was a little off offensively, those things will come as we get our full team back and healthy.”

Going into the game, the Chippewas finally had the majority of the team back inaction but were missing Aundre Polk and Miroslav Stafl due to a knee injury. 

Things started to go the Chippewas' way from the jump with nothing but success in the basket holding a lead against the Zips, who were struggling to find the basket going 1-for-11 from the field. 

The Chippewas were on the run to stop Akron's Enrique Freeman who leads the MAC in rebounds. Freeman shined for the Zips as he tied up the game and not long after took the lead at the line after he was fouled. 

The Chippewas answered back to start what would be a back-and-forth game when Harrison Henderson and Brian Taylor had back-to-back dunks. Although the Zips struggled early on, they found their momentum in the half going on a 10-point run with under three minutes in the half.

With efforts from Cameron Healy and Henderson, the Chippewas were able to bring the Zips lead to a halt as Henderson delivered a pair of threes to top off an 11- point run to pull within two. 

With under 30 seconds remaining, the Chippewas were forced the Zips to the line. This sealed the deal for Akron. 

Guard Cameron Healy led the Chippewas with 18 points and Ralph Bissainthe was close behind with 11. Bissainthe and Brian Taylor had seven rebounds. 

For Akron, Freeman and Xavier Castaneda both led with 16 points. Freeman had a game-best 11 rebounds.

The Chippewas had three dunks on the day from Henderson, Taylor and Bissainthe. The Zips improved from the field going 12-for-26 in the second half. 

The Chippewas will travel to DeKalb to take on Northern Illinois on Sat. at 4 p.m.