CMU basketball takes down Western in front of a record breaking crowd

senior guard Brian Taylor shoots a three pointer over the Western Michigan defender, Saturday, Jan. 28, in McGuirk Arena.

16 seconds left, Central Michigan basketball sophomore center Nicolas Pavrette caught a rebound off a missed Western Michigan free throw. He passed it to junior guard Jesse Zarzuela who looked up the court for an open man, he found senior guard Brian Taylor on the arc. 

With five seconds left on the clock, Taylor let go of the ball as the sold-out arena watched as it fell into the net, securing a 70-69 victory against the Broncos on Saturday. 

“It’s so great man,” Taylor said. “Just seeing everybody storm the court and ... just being happy, it was very exciting for me. I've been working on ... my shot and have been struggling this season on my shot but for it to go in, when it mattered feels really good.”

The Chippewas move to 3-5 in Mid-American Conference play and 7-14 overall, while the Broncos fall to 2-6 in the MAC and 7-13 overall. 

“Proud,” said head coach Tony Barbee. “Just a proud coach. Proud of the guys they earned it, they deserve it. We didn't play our best 39 minutes and 48 seconds or whatever was left on the clock, but I thought we had poise and composure when it counted.” 

The Chippewas quickly found themselves trailing as the Broncos continued to go on runs throughout the first half putting CMU in a constant catch up.

A slight spark from the Chippewas led to back-to-back baskets but the Broncos continued to remain in control as they outscored CMU in the first half, 33-25. 

Just minutes into the second half, the Chippewas went on a 5-1 run to cut the Broncos' lead to eight. The Broncos were quick to answer back with three free throws extending their lead to 10.

Back-to-back three-pointers from Zarzuela sent a rush of momentum through the CMU bench as the Broncos' lead was cut to seven with a score of 47-40.  A block from freshman forward Ola Ajiboye helped keep the Chippewas pushing froward and Western off the board with 12:35 left in the game. 

Ajiboye had eight points, seven rebounds, two blocks and shot 50% from the floor. 

Taking advantage of a Broncos turnover, Bass completed a four-point play after he was fouled during his three-point shot sending him to the line. 

With 2:11 left in the game, Bass managed to steal the ball from the Broncos after a missed CMU shot, Pavrette grabbed the rebound and threw the ball back up to the board, cutting the lead to 67-62. 

Bass had a total of 13 points, two assists and one steal. Pavrette ended the night with six points and with eight rebounds. 

“He (Pavrette) was a terror out their offensive rebounds huge, kickbacks, offensive rebounds, finding guys on the threes, blocking shots, being able to switch on (Lamar) Norman and keep them in front,” Barbee said. 

With time winding down, a three-point shot from Zarzuela put the Chippewas within two as part of a CMU 10-1 run to make the score 67-65 with 1:21 left to play. 

A block by Ajiboye kept the Broncos off the board as Pavrette came down with the rebound with 16 seconds left on the clock and the Chippewas were within one. 

A free throw put the Broncos up by two, but it only took five seconds for Taylor to take one final shot securing victory for the Chippewas.

Zarzuela led the team with 25 points, three assists and went 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. Taylor had nine points and three rebounds.

CMU travels to Ohio as they take on the Kent State Golden Flashes at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.