Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – In the end, Michigan had a little too much.
But the Central Michigan men’s basketball team showed it has an awful lot on Monday in its 72-65 loss to the Wolverines before 8,941 at Crisler Center.
Shawn Roundtree, a junior transfer playing in just his second game as a Chippewa, scored 21 points to lead CMU (1-1), which plays host to Eureka on Saturday (1 p.m.) in a nonleague game at McGuirk Arena.
CMU led through most of the first half and was down one, 32-31, at halftime. The teams traded the lead several times early in the second half and the Chippewas were up, 47-46, with under 12 minutes to play.
Jaaron Simmons hit a 3-pointer with 11:13 remaining to put Michigan in front for good, 49-47. The Wolverines then crept away to what eventually became a nine-point lead, 62-53, with just over four minutes to play.
CMU outrebounded the Wolverines, 34-27, and made 41.7 percent of their 3-point attempts.
“We knew what we were facing today, that we were going to have to play extremely well,” CMU coach Keno Davis said. “I credit our guys for playing extremely hard.
“In those stretches where it felt like they had all the momentum and they had a chance to blow us out, somehow we were able to make the big stop, the big shot, the big play to give ourselves a chance. We just didn’t make enough of them to give ourselves a chance to win at the end.”
The Achilles heel for the Chippewas? Turnovers. They committed 14 while forcing just six from the Wolverines (2-0).
“Kind of funny that we lose the game on the turnovers because that’s kind of been a staple that we don’t turn the ball over,” Davis said. “I think some of those that we had are correctable and I don’t foresee that being a problem for us in the future. Just something that we need to address in practice and get better on.”
Luke Meyer added 12 points and David DiLeo grabbed a team-high nine rebounds for CMU.
Roundtree, a 6-foot guard who transferred to CMU from Mineral Area (Mo.) College, hit seven of his 11 field goal attempts including four-of-six from 3-point range.
“It’s funny, you talk about that (stat) line and I don’t even know that I would say that he played great,” Davis said. “If you asked him he’d be upset about the turnovers and that (he would want) to be a little stronger with the ball.
“But that says so much about the young man that on a night that he has that kind of line and does that, at Michigan, and you’re talking about, ‘Well he could do better.’
“That shows you how highly we think of this young man and his future at CMU.”
Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored 17 points to lead a balanced Michigan attack.