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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