CMU men's basketball struggles to hit shots in loss to Robert Morris

Junior guard Jesse Zarzuela shoots a mid range jumpshot against Robert Morris Wednesday Dec. 7 in McGuirk Arena.

Despite having a few key components back on the floor, lack of success at the basket and its offensive engine hurt Central Michigan men's basketball against Robert Morris on Wednesday in McGuirk Arena. 

Ultimately, The Chippewas (4-5) fell to the Colonials (4-6) 71-66, 

CMU converted on 20 of its 62 shot attempts, good for 32.3 percent from the floor.

“It was a product of not having Kevin Miller, the best point guard in our conference,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “He is the head of our ship and it's obvious when he's not available to play, we do not have a point guard.” 

Sophomore guard Kevin Miller has suited up in four games so far this season and for the first time appeared in a walking boot. 

Without Miller, the team has turned to freshmen Reggie Bass and Amani Drummond for point guard duties. 

Bass registered 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals, but went 3-for-15 from the field. Drummond, meanwhile, did not make either of his field goal attempts. 

Following the opening tip, both teams struggled to get their offenses going. The two teams didn’t manage to score a combined total of 10 points until over six minutes into the game. 

Despite the Chippewas logging the first points of the game after junior guard Jesse Zarzuela took a jump shot just 30 seconds into the game, they did not manage any more points for nearly seven minutes. 

Zarzuela was the only thing working in CMU’s offensive game plan despite missing the two previous games to illness. He scored a game-high 25 points going 7-for-17 shooting, as well as 4-for-8 from three-point range.

“The game didn’t change, felt pretty slow to me,” Zarzuela said of his return to the lineup. “Missed a few shots I normally make. But other than that, just trying to win, you know. That’s the main thing. (I didn’t) feel uncomfortable though. Obviously a little rusty, I coulda been faster on the defensive end. But, just trying to get my legs back under me.”

Zarzuela was not the only one that felt like the team struggled defensively.

“Awful,” Barbee said of his team’s defensive communication. “You look at this team that shot 52% in the second half. It’s a byproduct of bad defense. They got two guys that can play on the perimeter. Two. And we just continually left them. So, defense was not very good.”

CMU hits the road for a matchup against Tulsa on Saturday at 3 p.m.