CMU men’s basketball upsets red-hot Toledo


Central Michigan's junior forward Jemal Davis dunks during a game against Toledo on Friday, Jan. 19 in McGuirk Arena. Davis had two points and two rebounds. (Marie Underwood | CM-Life)

With 10 minutes remaining in the game and Central Michigan men’s basketball down one, Toledo guard Ra’Heim Moss committed a technical foul, sending junior guard Anthony Pritchard to the line. 

After Pritchard nailed both free throws, junior guard Derrick Butler hit a fade away jumper as the shot clock was winding down giving CMU the 45-42 lead. 

As head coach Tony Barbee encouraged fans to get loud, McGuirk Arena erupted which caused a miss for the Rockets on the other end. Using the energy from the crowd, the Chippewas continued their momentum for the rest of the game, defeating Toledo 65-62 on Friday. 

“This is a team full of great people with great character, and you can accomplish great things with great people,” Barbee said. “We’ve got that in that room.” 

Coming into the game, the Rockets were on a hot streak to start Mid-American Conference play, going 5-0. Toledo has been at the top of the conference, winning 20-straight regular season MAC games before heading into the matchup. 

“I respect the heck out of that program (Toledo),” Barbee said. “They, along with a couple other teams in this league, since I've been in it has embodied everything that we're chasing, and we're getting closer.”

The Chippewas now move to 9-9 overall and 4-2 in MAC play.

Similar to the last game, the fans seemed to make an impact on the matchup with 2,254 fans in attendance. 

“It's extra motivation because we want to win for the people that come support us,” Pritchard said. “So seeing them out here showing us love, it’s a lot of motivation.” 

After only getting four points in the first half, Pritchard started to come alive in the second, ending the game with a team-high 20 points, nine rebounds and three assists. 

“He’s got offensive capabilities, he showed it tonight … but more importantly it was his leadership that was huge,” Barbee said. “Just like against Kent State when we were down 15-3 to start the game and we could have gone away, his leadership was huge.” 

Graduate guard Brian Taylor secured his fourth double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 rebounds. 

With the score tied at 16 and both teams looking to take the momentum, the Chippewas delivered with an 8-0 run aided by a dunk from junior forward Jemal Davis that got McGuirk loud and gave CMU the lead. 

The Rockets came into the game averaging the most points per game in the MAC. However, the Chippewas limited Toledo’s offense to 23 points to take the seven-point lead into halftime. 

Toledo averaged 79.1 points per game and hit 47.5% of its shots from the field coming into the game. It was a different story against CMU as the Rockets were held to 62 points overall and shot 33.9% from the floor.

“It was an incredible effort (on defense),” Barbee said. “The scouting report discipline that my team showed tonight was incredible. Attention to the details, how we were guarding, who we were guarding, things we were trying to get them to play away from and play to. Tonight, we had very, very few breakdowns and that showed.”

With 13 minutes remaining in the game, the Rockets started to find their rhythm on offense, nailing back-to-back three pointers to pull ahead 39-37. 

As CMU was looking to retake the lead, Moss committed a technical foul which led to two free throws from Pritchard and a fadeaway jump shot from Butler that gave the Chippewas all the momentum and the lead 45-42. 

Following the technical foul, CMU went on 11-3 run to give them the eight-point advantage with seven minutes remaining in the game. 

The Chippewas continued to make stops on defense and held on to the lead to give them their fifth win at home this season. 

CMU looks to continue the success at home as it returns to McGuirk Arena on Tuesday to face off against Ball State at 7 p.m.