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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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