OXFORD, OH -- Reaction to Central Michigan’s 11-2 non-conference record likely depended on who one asked. Many were impressed, especially by a high-powered offense that scored 100 or more points four times. Others were skeptical of the competition level.
MORE PHOTOS TO COME!!!!
Conference play is a chance to chance to let the results speak for themselves, and Central Michigan (12-2) did that Saturday by opening Mid-American Conference play with an 84-77 road win over Miami (8-6).
The Chippewas high-octane offense started strong and allowed Miami to hold a lead for just 59 seconds of the 40-minute tilt.
Five CMU players reached double figures, led by forward Rob Montgomery’s 18 points. He also tied for team-high honors in rebounds with nine caroms -- part of a Chippewa effort that gave CMU an important 42-36 advantage on the boards.
Austin and Roundtree, both senior guards, were key pieces in pushing the offense and -- in addition to scoring -- setting up other shooters with a combined 11 assists.
“I think he’s the difference in that team -- by far,” Miami head coach Jack Owens said. “What they have are some older guys, and those guys play very well. There’s a reason they’ve won 12 games.”
Both teams made 10 3-point goals, although CMU went 10-for-24 (41.7%), while Miami was 10-of-32 (31.3%). The latter had one-more made free throw.
Both teams also took 62 shots from the field, but Central connected on 30 (48.4%), while the RedHawks hit 26 (41.9%).
Central Michigan pushed the pace early and jumped out to an early lead, but the hosts stayed close and Miami went up 11-9 on an Adaway triple at 14:20.
CMU took the lead for good a minute later when Roundtree drained a triple on the break and the Chippewas upped their advantage to 11 points on three occasions. CMU led 39-33 at the break.
After Central moved the lead back to double digits at 43-33 early in the second period, Miami went on a 9-2 run to pull within three (45-42). As it would do several times in the final stanza, CMU had an answer. By the 12:39 mark, the Chippewas were up 11 again.
The closest Miami could get after that was four points, 68-64, following a Sibande 3-pointer at 4:56. CMU again went up by double digits (74-64) and held off the RedHawks down the stretch.
"We're still far from a finished product. We made a lot of mistakes out there,” Davis said. “But . . . we just came back with confidence to make plays and made enough of them down the stretch to get a road win in a place CMU hasn't won very often."
Miami hosts Northern Illinois, while Central Michigan welcomes Akron. Both games are Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET