Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
CMU Outrebounds Pepperdine but Falls, 88-71
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Central Michigan had a three-point advantage at halftime but couldn’t hold off a second-half surge by Pepperdine and fell to the Waves, 88-71, on Saturday night at McGuirk Arena.

Sophomore guard Chris Fowler led CMU with a career-high 23 points while junior guard Austin Keel contributed 13 points and five rebounds in a team-high 31 minutes. Sophomore forward Blake Hibbitts added 12 points on 4-of-4 shooting from behind the three-point arc.

The Chippewas outrebounded the Waves, which had a distinct height advantage, 37-34, including a +9 on the offensive boards. CMU had five players with five or more rebounds, led by seven from sophomore forward Austin Stewart.

Pepperdine (3-0) raced out to a quick 6-0 lead and maintained the advantage throughout most of the half. CMU got within one point at 23-22 when Hibbitts drained a three at the 8:39 mark but two minutes later the Waves lead was upped to seven, their largest of the half.

Central Michigan (1-2) answered back with an 11-4 run and tied the game at 34-34 with a Fowler lay-up, two of his six points during the run, with 2:02 remaining in the half. The Chippewas took their first lead of the game at 37-36 moments later when Hibbitts hit his second three-pointer. Another Fowler lay-up and a tip in by Keel at the buzzer followed and CMU went to the break with a 41-38 lead.

Pepperdine heated up in the second half, using 72 percent shooting to take control of the game. The Waves missed just two shots over the first 10-plus minutes of the period and staked their first double-digit lead of the game when guard Jeremy Major made a lay-up with 7:30 left to play, making the score 71-59. Hibbitts nailed two three-pointers during the Pepperdine run but it was not enough to change the momentum in CMU’s favor.

Freshman guard Josh Kozinski notched his first points as a Chippewa, sinking a three-pointer with 2:43 remaining, but Pepperdine’s lead continued to balloon, reaching as much as 19.

Forward Stacy Davis led Pepperdine with 25 points. Forward Brendan Lane posted a double double, scoring 15 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds.

The Chippewas are back in action later this week as hosts of the Central Michigan Tournament. CMU will face Austin Peay on Thursday (7 p.m.), Montana State on Friday (7 p.m.) and Cal State Northridge on Saturday (7:30 p.m.) in McGuirk Arena. Tickets can be ordered online or by phone at 1-888-FIRE-UP-2 (3473-872). Visit Central Michigan Tournament Basketball Central for complete ticket information.

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