CMU men's basketball wins third-straight in overtime over BGSU


Central Michigan junior guard Derrick Butler dribbles the ball away from Bowling Green senior guard Da'Shawn Phillip during a game, Tuesday, Feb. 20, in McGuirk Arena. Butler scored eight points for the Chippewas. (CM-Life | Jo Kenoshmeg) 

Down four with 19 seconds to play, it looked like Central Michigan men’s basketball was going to fall to Bowling Green. But that was until junior guard Derrick Butler made an improbable three pointer cutting the Falcons lead to one.

After a CMU foul sent BGSU to the free throw line, the first was made, with the second off the mark. Graduate guard Brian Taylor then got the ball to freshman guard Cayden Vasko who went coast-to-coast to tie the game with 2.4 seconds left to play.

The game then went to overtime and with eight seconds remaining Taylor got the go-ahead basket and the overall game winner with a final score of 62-60.

“We are going to our senior and either you’ll make this play, or you won’t,” head coach Tony Barbee said. “The first time up we run that exact same play, and he gets bullied by Agee (Rashaun)… I said we're going right back to the same play Brian, and this is on you you're gonna get bullied again and we lose or you're gonna step up.”

The win on Tuesday brings the Chippewas to 16-10 on the season and 10-3 in Mid-American conference play. CMU now sits one game out of first place after Toledo knocked off Akron.

It was a slow start for both teams in the game as neither team reached double digits until 12 minutes remaining in the first half after a bucket by junior guard Anthony Pritchard brought the Chippewas' lead to 11-7.

Both offenses stayed stagnant for the remainder of the half, as with 3:30 remaining CMU was able to get a bucket boosting its lead to double-digits with a 26-15 lead.

Both teams would get one more bucket in the final three minutes, with BGSU’s being at the buzzer, heading into the break down 28-17. The 17 points scored is the lowest first half total for the Falcons this season.

“We had an opportunity in the first half when you hold a team to 16% shooting and that was even better than we did the other night (Western Michigan) and 0% from the three you have to be up more than 10,” Barbee said.

The second half started just as the first half did, and that was with stagnant offense, as through five minutes neither team had scored double-digits in the half. 

Things heated up in the following minutes with BGSU going on a 17-5 run that gave it the lead, 45-43. CMU answered back with back-to-back three pointers to then retake the lead.

In the final two minutes BGSU would go on a 10-2 run to retake the lead that led to the buckets by Butler and Vasko to send the game into overtime.

In overtime both teams struggled to score the ball, but it was CMU that came out on top with the win.

Offensively, the Chippewas were led by Pritchard who had 15 points and nine rebounds while also adding three steals. 

“Some shots weren’t falling that I usually hit and just staying confident even though I was missing a little bit and just whenever I had that same opportunity to be ready to knock it down,” Pritchard said.

Taylor had a big performance on the rebounding side as he had 15 on the night, while also adding eight points with the final two being the biggest.

“I had a tough game today on the offensive end,” Taylor said. “He (Coach Barbee) trusted me, and I trust him. So, I just made the play that I know that he wanted me to make, and it was good. Felt good.”

Again, CMU’s defense was sound, forcing BGSU into 14 turnovers that turned into 19 points for Central Michigan. The Chippewas totaled 10 steals with Pritchard, Taylor and Vasko each totaling three apiece.

CMU also held BGSU to 27% (18-65) shooting from the field and 5.9% (1-17) from three-point range.

The Chippewas will travel to Oxford, Ohio where they will take on Miami (OH) and look to win their fourth straight at 7 p.m.