YPSILANTI, Mich. – Central Michigan pulled within one point of Eastern Michigan early in the second half but a subsequent 19-1 run by the Eagles doomed the Chippewas’ bid for a third-straight MAC win and they fell, 64-42, on Wednesday evening in Ypsilanti.
Chris Fowler was CMU’s lone double-figure scorer, posting 10 points, to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal in 32 minutes of court time. Rayshawn Simmons added seven points while John Simons totaled six points and a team-high eight rebounds. Braylon Rayson had an active outing, tallying five points, three rebounds and three steals.
Central Michigan (10-17, 3-12 MAC) was hindered by a poor-shooting performance from the field and from the free throw line and struggled with turnovers against the nation’s No. 1-ranked defensive unit. The Chippewas shot 24 percent (13-of-53) overall and 44 percent (8-of-18) from the line while turning the ball over an uncharacteristic 15 times.
A highlight for CMU was its rebounding effort, as the Chippewas matched the much-larger Eagles board-for-board, with both teams totaling 38.
Three-pointers accounted for 15 of CMU’s 19 first half points and kept the Chippewas within striking distance of Eastern. Rayson downed Central’s first three to give it its only lead of the game at 3-2. CMU then fell behind by as many as nine points but, late in the half, a Blake Hibbitts triple from the corner and a 30-foot buzzer beater by Fowler pulled the Chippewas within five points at 24-19 at the halftime break.
Fowler hit another three-pointer to start the second half to cut the deficit to just two points. After an EMU bucket, Simons sunk 1-of-2 free throws and then scored on a tip-in to make the game 26-25.
Eastern then took control of the game, settting out on a 12-0 run, interrupted only by a Fowler free throw at the 12:55 mark. The Eagles added seven more unanswered points to take a commanding lead at 45-26 and never looked back.
CMU was able to cut the lead to 15 at 45-30 with 8:33 remaining following free throws by Fowler and DeAndray Buckley and a Fowler floater but would get no closer.
Eastern Michigan (16-12, 8-7 MAC) got a game-high 18 points from Karrington Ward and 12 off the bench from Glenn Bryant.
The Chippewas are back on the road this weekend, traveling to Muncie, Ind. for a Saturday 2 p.m. rematch with Ball State (4-22, 1-14 MAC). CMU defeated the Cardinals, 101-95, in triple overtime in the teams’ first meeting in Mount Pleasant earlier this month.
Central Michigan men’s basketball is on Twitter. Follow head coach Keno Davis (@CoachKenoDavis) and the program’s official Twitter account (@CMUMensBBall) to get insider news and information and team updates. The Chippewas are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CMUMensBBall.