Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – In two days, it will be a new year. In four days, it will be a new season.
And there is little that the Central Michigan men’s basketball team did during November and December to suggest that there isn’t a whole lot of promise going forward.
The Chippewas closed the nonconference portion of their schedule on Friday by running past NAIA Lawrence Tech, 91-73, at McGuirk Arena.
The win, CMU’s third straight, lifted the Chippewas to 11-2. The 11 nonconference wins is a program record, and the Chippewas entered Friday’s game ranked No. 21 in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25.
Now, it’s turn-the-page time. The Chippewas open Mid-American Conference play at home on Tuesday, Jan. 2, against Ohio (7-5).
“We’re turning the corner, it’s a new season, everyone’s 0-0 in the conference, we’re all tied with each other,” said CMU sophomore David DiLeo, who hit seven of his 10 3-point attempts en route to a game-high 25 points in leading the Chippewas past Lawrence Tech. “We need to continue to build off of what we started in the nonconference and keep it rolling.
“It doesn’t matter if you’ve got an undefeated team going against a winless team, you’ve got to come ready to play. It’s whoever wants it more, really. Whoever goes out and wants a W is going to get it.”
DiLeo went 5-for-6 from long range in helping stake the Chippewas to a 61-36 halftime lead. Lawrence Tech (1-14) never got closer than 18 in the second half, allowing CMU coach Keno Davis to utilize all 14 of his players.
Cecil Williams added 20 points and Shawn Roundtree had 16 for the Chippewas, who made 11 of their 21 first-half triple tries and finished 15-of-43 from long range. The 15 3-pointers was their second-highest total of the season.
They outrebounded the Blue Devils, 39-31, and forced 17 turnovers while committing just seven, their second-lowest total of the season. Luke Meyer led CMU with eight rebounds, while DiLeo had three steals, tying his season high.
Ty’rese Searles scored 27 points and Devonte Myles had 21 for Lawrence Tech, which finished 17-of-32 from 3-point range (53.1 percent).
“I’m really pleased with what this team’s been able to accomplish through the nonconference part of the season,” CMU coach Keno Davis said. “To come out 11-2, just about everyone in the country would like to go into their conference schedule 11-2.
“The attitude’s been great, the work ethic’s been great. We know that there’s going to be tough nights; we haven’t had many of them yet. We understand where this team is going and where this program’s going. We’re not there yet, but if we can keep that attitude and that effort where it’s been each and every day, I’ll be pleased with the final result.”