CMU produces season low scoring output in loss at Buffalo

Senior guard Brian Taylor goes up for a layup during a game against Ohio Saturday, Feb. 18 in McGuirk Arena. Taylor was the second leading scorer of the game with 16 points.

The clock read 3:59 in the second half as Brian Taylor, a senior guard for Central Michigan men’s basketball, approached the free throw line and swished in the second of two freebies - his ninth and 10th points.

With those, Taylor cemented himself as the only Chippewa to score in double figures on Tuesday night when CMU (10-18, 5-10) fell to Buffalo (13-15, 7-8) 63-35. 

CMU’s 35 was the lowest point total it has posted all season. Before tonight, it had been 51, which the Chippewas have put up twice this season - once against Akron and once against Ball State.

Taylor finished with 12 points, just a few shy of his season average of 14.8. However, he struggled to find efficiency in his shooting, going 4-for-15 from the field.

Inefficient shooting was a common thread through all 40 minutes of play on both sides. The Chippewas attempted 47 shots, but only managed to convert on 14 of those attempts. The Bulls weren’t much better in terms of percentage, making 23 shots on 63 attempts. In total, the teams shot a combined 33.6%. 

Not only were field goals hard to come by for CMU, but the team did not manage to convert on any of its 13 three-point attempts while making half of its 14 free throws. 

Sophomore center Nicolas Pavrette got the first scratch of the game on either side with a dunk on a feed from fellow sophomore center Markus Harding. That would be the Chippewas’ only lead all night.

About 18 minutes after the game-opening dunk, CMU finally scored its 10th point courtesy of Pavrette once again. Of those 10 points scored with 1:19 remaining in the half, Pavrette was responsible for six. 

Pavrette ended with eight points and pulled down a career-high 12 rebounds while blocking three shots in 33 minutes of action. Aside from Pavrette and Taylor, no other Chippewa scored five or more points.

Through the first half, the Chippewas’ turnover total doubled their total field goals made; they had 10 turnovers and only five made field goals. Going into the half, Buffalo led 36-14.

All told, CMU gave the ball away nearly twice as many times as the Bulls did. The Chippewas had 23 total turnovers, matching their previous season high that they registered against Ohio.

Buffalo defenders proved pesky for CMU ball handlers, swiping 17 steals. Five Bulls registered multiple steals, led by junior forward Isaiah Adams, who collected four. Adams also posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Buffalo also spread the ball around, registering 19 assists on their 23 made field goals while the Chippewas dished out just seven assists on their 14 made field goals.

The second half of the game was a tradeoff of runs between the two teams. The Bulls scored the first 13 second-half points in little over five minutes of play. Following that stretch, CMU proceeded to go on a 12-1 run over another five minutes and change.

Buffalo responded once again by scoring the next 12 points, and the contest ended with a 9-1 run by the Chippewas.

CMU returns to Mount Pleasant on Saturday to face off against Northern Illinois for a 2 p.m. game. The Huskies and the Bulls are now tied for one spot ahead of the Chippewas in the Mid-American Conference standings as both teams have seven conference victories. 

CMU sits in eighth place at five wins, just ahead of Bowling Green, Miami (OH) and Eastern Michigan, each carrying four. There are three games left in conference play ahead of the MAC tournament, with three spots still up for grabs (seeds 1-5 have all clinched a spot). No MAC team has been mathematically eliminated.