CMU basketball falls to CBU
After making a comeback, Central Michigan men's basketball found itself within two going into halftime.
However, in the second half California Baptist’s offense exploded as it grabbed a 15-point lead, en route to a 77-61 win on Saturday.
CMU is now 2-4 on the season, while CBU moves to 4-3.
The Chippewas were once again without sophomore center Markus Harding and leading scorer sophomore guard Kevin Miller due to undisclosed reasons.
“It's not tough if you play with purpose and execute the defensive gameplan,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “It's been every game. In the first half, we're holding opponents to 35% shooting on average. Second half, we're holding teams to about 55% shooting in the second half on the season…the defense is in front of our bench in the first half.
"So, the coaches are coaching every play defensively because our players won't take ownership in the defense…And then the second half the defense is away from us. We can't hear the play calls quite as good. And so now all of a sudden, it's on them to do it. You see what happens, we shot 65% from the floor in the second half. It wasn't about making the shots. It was about us breaking down on defense.”
From start to finish the Lancers gave the Chippewas a run on the court offensively. But down 14-6, they went on an 8-0 run to tie the game midway through the first half.
Senior guard Brian Taylor had a season-high of 20 points while adding eight rebounds and three assists.
Taking advantage of a Lancer four-minute scoring drought, freshman guard Emil Skytta turned a fast break into points as he drove toward the basket giving CMU the lead.
The Chippewas took their largest lead of 28-25 with three minutes remaining in the first half when freshman guard Max Majerle went head-to-head with a Lancer defender from the arc to the basket.
The Lancers took over again offensively to end the half on a 5-2 run taking a 33-31 lead.
“It's a mental, mental, physical game in the paint,” Barbee said. “And they (California Baptist) won that war.”
CBU continued its hot streak under the basket in the second half, but the Chippewas held on close to keep it a tight race.
Keeping CMU in the fight was junior guard Jesse Zarzuela who exploded in the second half scoring 14 of his 16 points in the second half. He finished with a team-high six assists.
“And then on the flip side they just bullied us tonight,” Barbee said. “Just bullied us to the tune of a plus 21 on the backboard. It was a huge key in the game.”
The Lancers outrebounded the Chippewas with a total of 48 compared to CMU’s 27.
As time began to run out in the second half, the Lancers pulled ahead of the Chippewas, securing a 77-61 win.
The Chippewas start their three-game home stand on Tuesday against Purdue Northwest at 7 p.m.