Rugged Schedule Awaits Chippewa Men in 2019-20

Rugged Schedule Awaits Chippewa Men in 2019-20

September 4, 2019 | Written By: Andy Sneddon

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – The Central Michigan men's basketball team opens the 2019-20 season with four consecutive November games at McGuirk Arena in what promises to be a challenging slate under eighth-year coach Keno Davis.
 
The Chippewas' schedule includes road games against two Big Ten teams, Minnesota (Nov. 21) and Purdue (Dec. 28); one from the Big 12, Texas (Dec. 14); and one from the Big East, DePaul (Nov. 26). The Chippewas are also scheduled to visit Valparaiso and Robert Morris.
 
CMU will play nonconference home games against UM-Dearborn, Mississippi Valley State, Sam Houston State, Siena Heights, Trinity Christian, Youngstown State and UT-Martin.
 
The Chippewas finished 23-12 a year ago, tying for the program's second-highest single-season win total. It marked the fifth-consecutive season in which CMU finished .500 or better, the first time the program has accomplished such a feat since the early 1970s.

It was CMU's second-consecutive 20-win season, the first time the program has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons since the mid 1960s. The Chippewas earned a postseason bid for the fourth time in five years by accepting a bid to the College Basketball Invitational. CMU has won 100 games under Davis over the past five years.
 
The Chippewas are scheduled to play 16 home games, including their first two in the Mid-American Conference – Jan. 4 vs. Miami (Ohio) and Jan. 7 vs. Northern Illinois.
 
"We are looking forward to this year's schedule that gives our fans 16 opportunities to see us play in McGuirk Arena," Davis said. "Ten of those game are on weekends. We also are looking forward to playing some high-level opponents on the road. We are aware that we couldn't have had the success that we have had without our great fans, and I'm excited for them to see this year's team."
 
The Chippewas play a home-and-home with defending MAC champion Buffalo, welcoming the Bulls to McGuirk Arena on Jan. 18 and then going to Buffalo on Feb. 8.
 
CMU plays in-state rivals Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan twice each. CMU goes to Kalamazoo on Feb. 1 and then entertains the Broncos in the regular-season finale on March 6; the Chippewas play host to Eastern Michigan on Feb. 11 and then go to Ypsilanti on Feb. 29.
 
Purdue is the defending Big Ten regular-season co-champion and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season; Texas is the defending NIT champion; DePaul finished as the runner-up in the CBI Tournament in 2019; and Minnesota finished 22-14 and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament a year ago.
 

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Big Comeback, Big Win

March 6, 2019 | Written By: Mitch Vosburg

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Kevin McKay scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half en route to his second consecutive double-double on Tuesday as the Central Michigan men's basketball team overcame a 12-point second-half deficit in topping Eastern Michigan, 77-66, in a Mid-American Conference game at the Eagles' Convocation Center.

The Chippewas outscored the Eagles, 52-31, in the second half and made 10 of their 19 3-point attempts on the night. CMU forced 10 turnovers and outrebounded the Eagles, 21-13, in the game's final 20 minutes as the Chippewas won their fourth consecutive game.

"The energy that our guys brought in the second half really was the difference in the game," CMU coach Keno Davis said. "We looked like we had fresh legs even though we only (played) seven players and had a couple guys play 40 (minutes)."

CMU improved to 20-8, 9-6 MAC with its first win in Ypsilanti and a sweep of the season series with Eastern since 2014-15. It also gave the Chippewas their third 20-win season in their last five, and it marked the first time since the 1965-66 and 1966-67 seasons that they have recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Chippewas remain one game behind Toledo in the MAC West. The Rockets, who visit McGuirk Arena on Saturday (4:30 p.m.) for CMU's home regular-season finale, are 10-5 in league play after an 80-72 win over Ball State on Tuesday.

CMU remains in fourth place – a critical spot – overall in the MAC. The top four teams in the final regular-season standings, regardless of division, earn a first-round bye in the league tournament and advance directly to Cleveland for the tourney quarterfinals.

HOW IT HAPPENED

CMU trailed by 12 points, 37-25, with under 17 minutes remaining, then went on a 17-5 run to tie the game 42-42 with just over 13 minutes to play.

The Chippewas took their first lead, 50-49, on a Dallas Morgan jumper with 8:47 to play. Just over a minute later, Morgan hit a 3-pointer to increase it to 53-49. CMU picked up steam from there, upping its lead to 13, 68-55, on a McKay jumper with 2:16 remaining.

EMU drew to within 68-62 with under a minute left when Larry Austin Jr. scored on a drive to make it 70-62. The Chippewas were a perfect 7 for 7 from the free throw line over the final 25 seconds to hold the Eagles at bay.

LEADERS

McKay, the reigning MAC West Player of the Week, scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting and grabbed 10 rebounds. On Saturday at Ball State, the 6-foot-5 junior guard finished with 17 points and a career-high 19 rebounds.

David DiLeo hit five of his nine 3-point attempts en route to 18 points despite battling illness for the second consecutive game. Morgan added 12 points and Austin finished with nine points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

Morgan, a junior who was also battling illness, made his first career start in place of senior Shawn Roundtree Jr., who sat out the game nursing an injury that he sustained on Saturday at Ball State.

DEFENDING FROM DOWNTOWN

The Eagles made just four of their 21 3-point attempts for 18.2 percent. CMU has held its last four opponents to a combined 14 for 74 (18.9 percent) from 3-point range.

DiLEO CLIMBING

With his five 3-pointers, DiLeo now has 234 in his career and ranks fourth in program history. He passed Robbie Harman, who hit 233 from 2007-10, on Tuesday. Third on the list is John Simons, who made 256 from long range from 2012-15.

Josh Kozinski (2013-18) ranks first with 306 career triples.

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CMU Men Rally, Pull Out Big Road Win

March 6, 2019 | Written By: Keno Davis

MUNCIE, Ind. – Kevin McKay scored 17 points and hauled down a career-high 19 rebounds on Saturday as the Central Michigan men's basketball team overcame a 14-point second-half deficit to pull off a 64-57 Mid-American Conference victory over Ball State at the Cardinals' Worthen Arena.

It was CMU's third consecutive victory, lifting it to 19-8, 8-6 MAC. The Chippewas moved within one-half game of first-place Toledo in the MAC West. The Rockets were scheduled to play host to Northern Illinois on Saturday night.

The Chippewas not only overcame a deep deficit, but they overcame the loss of senior guard Shawn Roundtree, who left in the first half with an injury and did not return, and junior forward David DiLeo who missed the first nine minutes of the second half because of illness.

"Our guys were so excited at halftime to show they could come together without two of our big pieces, and they played exceptionally hard in the second half," CMU coach Keno Davis said. "That's about as great of an effort from guys who had to play a lot of minutes in the second half and came up with some big, big plays."

HOW IT HAPPENED

The Chippewas were down by 14 points, 40-26, with just over 17 minutes remaining, and then forged a 47-47 tie on a McKay free throw with 8:17 left. Ball State regained the lead, taking a 55-49 advantage with 6 minutes left.

That's when the Chippewas dug deep, and surged. Larry Austin Jr. scored on a fastbreak layup to trigger a 15-2 game-closing run as CMU snapped a four-game road losing streak and claimed its first victory at Ball State since the 2015-16 season. CMU outscored the Cardinals, 41-23, in the second half.

LEADERS

McKay posted his sixth double-double of the season and the 11th of his career, while Austin added 16 points and Dallas Morgan came off the bench to score 14 points in a season-high 27 minutes.

Tahjai Teague scored 12 points to lead Ball State.

MCKAY SHINES

McKay, who also had four steals, scored on a putback with 3:32 remaining to put the Chippewas in front for good, 57-55. He pulled down five rebounds during the decisive game-ending run.

"When called upon (McKay) can come up big," Davis said. "If he can continue to fill up a stat sheet, and he doesn't have to fill it with 17 points and 19 rebounds, if he can keep getting close to double-doubles and things like that he's going to be as valuable to our team as any other player."

THEFTS

Austin added three steals, giving him 59 on the season. He moved into fifth place on CMU's single-season steals list.

NEXT

The Chippewas play at Eastern Michigan on Tuesday, Feb. 26 (7 p.m.). Eastern defeated Western Michigan, 77-76, on Saturday, improving to 13-14, 7-7.

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