Courtesy: Matt Reynolds/Jacksonville State
Chippewas Continue to Establish Record of Success in 2013
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – With the non-conference portion of its 2013-14 schedule nearing completion, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team has earned its share of success thus far this season, both on and off the court.

The Chippewas have amassed six non-conference victories, just one shy of equaling their total from 2012 when head coach Keno Davis became only the second coach in the program’s Division I era to win seven non-conference games. CMU captured the title at its home tournament in late November, scoring 90 points in wins over Austin Peay and Cal State Northridge to keep the championship trophy in Mount Pleasant. The Chippewas have managed to remain healthy, starting the same five players in all 11 games, which has been a boon for team consistency.

CMU has excelled at the free throw line, ranking No. 1 in the MAC and ninth nationally thanks to its 76.4 percentage. The Chippewas have also taken care of the ball, ranking second in the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2) and third in turnover margin (+3.5).

Individually, point guard Chris Fowler has been CMU’s headliner, following up on his record-setting rookie season. The sophomore sensation is the MAC’s third-leading scorer, averaging 17.2 points per game, and ranks third in assists (5.0/g) and fourth in assist/turnover ratio (2.1). The MVP of the Central Michigan Tournament, he has scored in double figures in nine games, including six 20-point efforts, and has led the team in scoring in six games.

Sophomore forward John Simons has also been key to the team’s fortunes. Averaging 11.7 points per game, he has reached double figures in scoring seven times and has fallen one rebound shy of a double-double twice. Simons has been big on the boards, leading CMU in rebounding in 7-of-11 games.

CMU has also experienced continued achievement in the classroom. A record 10 student-athletes posted above a 3.0 grade point average during the fall term. Sophomore forward Blake Hibbitts led the way with a 4.0 while senior forward Zach Saylor (3.50), sophomore guard Austin Stewart (3.48) and Fowler (3.44) also had strong academic semesters.

CMU will conclude its non-conference schedule on Friday, Jan. 3 when it hosts Marygrove in a 7 p.m. game at McGuirk Arena. The Chippewas will open MAC play the following week when it welcomes Miami (Ohio) to Mount Pleasant for a 7 p.m. contest on Wednesday, Jan. 8.

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