'We just gotta keep playing hard': CMU men's basketball beats Purdue Northwest

Senior guard Brian Taylor goes for a lay-up during the game against Purdue Northwest on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in McGuirk Arena.

Freshman guard Reggie Bass sprinted down the court as time was ticking in the first half with Central Michigan basketball teammate senior guard Brian Taylor trailing behind. 

Bass threw the ball off the backboard, as Taylor jumped from mid-paint and finished the alley-oop giving the Chippewas their first lead of the game 36-34 going into the half. 

Holding onto their lead, CMU took down Purdue Northwest 74-67 on Tuesday in McGuirk Arena. 

"We just had to bring more energy,” Taylor said. "I talked to the guys, told them we need to pick our energy up and we need to get going.”

The Chippewas improve to 3-4 on the season, while Purdue moves to 5-4. 

“That team was more than capable of beating us,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “They’re a good division two team. They’ve got several division one transfers who have the ability to do a lot of things on the floor, breaking down, shooting the ball and scoring on the post. So regardless of if we were healthy, this was a game I was nervous about.”

CMU was once again without sophomore center Markus Harding and sophomore guard Kevin Miller due to undisclosed injuries. Freshman guard Max Majerle and junior guard Jesse Zarzuela were also not in attendance due to the flu. 

The Chippewas got off to a slow start allowing PNW to go on a 9-0 run. Junior forward Carrington McCaskill got the Chippewas on the board with a free throw, three minutes into the game. Two three-pointers and a jumper from Bass tied the game at nine. 

Bass ended the night with a career-high 25 points, three assists, and six rebounds. 

“He (Bass) gets lost a little in the whole Miller and Jesse way because those guys are so dynamic,” Barbee said. “But he’s just as dynamic. Now that doesn't mean I need him to be selfish when those guys are back, but I need him to be aggressive, and then make plays that are there for us.”

With two minutes left in the half, the Chippewas found their footing with back-to-back three-pointers from Taylor to put CMU within three. Taking advantage of a PNW scoring drought, CMU went on an 11-0 run as it took the lead going into halftime. 

Taylor led the Chippewas with a career-high 28 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks. 

“That’s what you expect from a four-year player,” Barbee said. “He has the patience and the composure to still perform in this game with some pretty significant guys missing on your roster.” 

Keeping the momentum going in the second half, the Chippewas kept PNW off the board pushing their run to 18-0. 

The Pride went on an 8-0 run with 14 minutes left in the game putting them within three as CMU turned cold under the basket. 

A three-point play by Taylor gave the Chippewas their spark back helping to keep PNW off the board to seal the 74-67 victory. 

Sophomore center Nicolas Pavrette had a career-high five blocks for CMU and four rebounds. 

The Chippewas welcome Alma College to McGuirk Arena on Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

“We just gotta keep playing hard,” Taylor said. “And keep playing the way we did tonight, and we want it to translate into the next game."