BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Chippewas enter the 2013 FirstEnergy MAC Tournament tonight as the No. 9 seed, traveling to Buffalo for a rematch with the No. 8 Bulls.
The Bulls handed CMU a 91-73 loss in Buffalo on January 30. The Chippewas were able to hold Javon McCrea under his average but Greg Downing came off the bench to light up the nets for 21 points. Kyle Randall scored a game-high 23 and Blake Hibbitts scored 17.
The winner of Monday night's matchup will head to Cleveland for a Wednesday night game against No. 5 Ball State (6:30 p.m., STO).
CMU wrapped up the regular season with wins in two of the last three games, falling in the season finale by three at Western Michigan. Buffalo has lost two of the last three and four of the last five.
The Buffalo-CMU series is tied at 11 and the Bulls have won five of the last six meetings. Central's last win in Buffalo was in 2007. These two teams met in Buffalo for the first round of the 2011 MAC Tournament, a 64-50 UB win.
Even with the emergence of several Chippewas averaging double-digit points down the stretch, Kyle Randall ended the regular season as the MAC's leading scorer. Back-to-back games with six three-pointers helped push his average to 18.3 points per game, moving up from third to first in the last week. He also added seven rebounds and five assists in those two games.
"He is as unselfish a player as you can hope to have," said head coach Keno Davis. "From an outsider's perspective you might think he's just dominating the ball and shooting it every time he catches it, but he's got a good field goal percentage. We've needed him this year to help our freshmen along."
• THE MATCHUP
No. 9 Central Michigan at No. 8 Buffalo
Monday, March 11, 2013 • 7 p.m. ET
• THE BROADCAST
Radio: Central Michigan IMG Sports Network - Flagship 95.3 WCFX-FM, Mount Pleasant
(play-by-play); (color analyst)
• THE OPENING TIP
• Tonight's matchup features two of the league's top three scorers. After 33 points in the regular season finale Kyle Randall has taken over as the MAC scoring leader averaging 18.3 points per game. Buffalo's Javon McCrea ranks third at 17.8 points and Toledo's Rian Pearson is in the middle at 17.9. McCrea also ranks third in the league in rebounding.
• Buffalo hit a season-high 57.7 percent from the floor (30-52) and finished 8-of-19 from long range in the meeting on January 30.
• CMU tallied 11 steals – one off of its season high – on 19 Buffalo turnovers.
• Buffalo out-rebounded the Chippewas by 17 – CMU's largest margin this season.