BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Central Michigan was able to celebrate twice as an official review confirmed that Bowling Green's final field goal came after the buzzer, giving the Chippewas a 54-53 win in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Derek Jackson's fourth three-pointer of the night gave the 11th-seeded Chippewas (11-20) a 51-50 lead with 1:47 to play and they were able to hold off five more surges by the sixth-seeded Falcons (16-15).
Torian Oglesby missed a layup with a second left, got his own rebound and put the ball back in. The Chippewas' celebration was cut short as both teams were called back to their benches while the officials reviewed the play, but the CMU bench erupted again several minutes later when officials called off the final shot.
The win propels Central to Cleveland for a second-round game against Toledo Wednesday evening.
"Our kids grew up tonight," said head coach Ernie Zeigler. "We were so starved to win a game on the road when every reason not to win was staring us in the face. We were extremely tough when things seemed like they weren't going our way. This is just the tip of the ice berg for this young group."
The Chippewas found themselves in a 9-0 hole in the first five minutes before they stormed back to tie the game in the next 2:10. Austin McBroom hit a three-pointer for the Chippewas' first bucket and scored seven of the team's points in the 9-0 run. His jumper with just under nine minutes to play in the half stopped six straight points by the Falcons as he accounted for nine of the Chippewas' first 11 points. Back-to-back three-pointers by Derek Jackson and three stops by the defense brought CMU within two, 19-17 at the 5:30 mark.
McBroom and Jackson combined for 15 of Central's 20 first-half points as the Chippewas were down six at halftime.
The Falcons opened another nine-point lead within the first four minutes of the second half, but the Chippewas responded with a 13-3 run to take their first lead of the game, 37-36, at 11:08.
McBroom finished with a career-high 20 points and a team-best six assists, and Jackson added 12 points, all from long range.
Trey Zeigler, who entered the game needing just nine points to become the first sophomore in program history to score 1,000 points, shot just 1-of-12 from the floor, but added a team-high eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal in 36 minutes.
"Normally when Trey plays that bad offensively we don't even have a shot," said Ernie Zeigler. "But he did other things, particularly in the second half to help this team win. We wanted him to get in the lane and just find guys."
"This type of win can propel us to something really special here at the end of this week. This is a group with four freshmen and two sophomores out there, and the sky is the limit for this group."