Courtesy: CMU Athletic Communications
Fowler’s Clutch Play Down the Stretch Lifts CMU to 65-64 Win Over SIUE
EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Sophomore guard Chris Fowler hit a shot with 6.2 seconds remaining and the Central Michigan defense held in SIU Edwardsville’s final possession, sending the Chippewas to a thrilling 65-64 win, their fourth consecutive, on Saturday night at the Cougars’ Vadalabane Center.

Fowler added another impressive chapter to the story of his standout 2013 season, scoring a game-high 23 points, on 10-of-14 shooting, and adding six assists, five rebounds and two steals. He got CMU off to a quick start, scoring the team’s first eight points, and then finished off SIUE by tallying the Chippewas’ final five, including the game winner.

The game was back-and-forth affair throughout, featuring 14 lead changes and 12 ties. Central Michigan (6-3) owned the largest lead of the contest, a six-point margin, at the 15:21 mark of the first half.

After Rayshawn Simmons drained two free throws to give CMU a 59-58 lead with 2:48 remaining, SIU Edwardsville possessed the ball for nearly the next two minutes, missing three straight shots but also getting three straight rebounds. Fowler got the ball back for the Chippewas when he stole the ball away from the Cougars’ Maurice Wiltz.

Fowler then made one free throw to push CMU’s lead to two but a Keaton Jackson three-point play on the ensuing possession gave SIUE back the lead at 61-60 with 32 seconds to play. Fowler responded again, driving to the bucket for a layup and drawing a foul. He made the free throw, providing Central with a 63-61 advantage.

SIU Edwardsville (2-7) once again answered back with a Wiltz three-pointer and CMU was down by one with just 16 seconds on the clock. Not to be outdone, Fowler had the last word, slipping to the basket and laying in the go-ahead shot. Cameron Craig’s three-point, last-ditch attempt was partially blocked by John Simons and fell short of the mark.

With the victory, CMU moves to 2-1 on the road this season and matches the program’s longest win streak since the 2007-08 season.

After Fowler accounted for CMU’s first eight points of the game, freshman guard Braylon Rayson nailed a three-pointer to give the Chippewas their largest lead of the game at 11-5. Central maintained the advantage until a jumper by Rozell Nunn at the 4:10 mark gave SIUE its first lead of the game at 22-20. The Cougars pushed the margin to four near the end of the half but a Fowler layup at the buzzer cut the lead in half at 29-27.

The teams traded buckets throughout the second half with neither team able to gain the upper hand. CMU got into foul trouble and put SIU Edwardsville into the bonus with 10:46 remaining but the Cougars could not take advantage. Simons, who sat the bench for a good portion of the first half after picking up two early fouls, hit two big three-pointers in the second half, accounting for six of his eight total points.

Simmons had nine points and five rebounds while Austin Stewart led the Chippewas with seven rebounds. CMU outrebounded SIUE, 39-31, but was hampered by 16 turnovers.

CMU shot 42 percent from the field but made just 7-of-30 three-point attempts.

CMU will continue its three-game December road swing next weekend, visiting No. 25 Dayton (7-1) for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Dec. 14 at UD Arena. The Chippewas are 0-3 all-time versus Dayton, last meeting the Flyers in the 1995-96 season.

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.
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