Shawn Roundtree Jr. scored 18 points, Larry Austin Jr. had 17, and David DiLeo added 11 for the Chippewas, who streaked to a 14-0 lead and upped their advantage to as many as 19 points in the first half.
The Chippewas were never threatened in the second half as their lead reached as many as 31 points.
Austin, a graduate transfer from Vanderbilt, made a quick impression in his CMU debut, scoring the game's first four points in sparking the Chippewas' game-opening 14-0 spurt.
The Chippewas made 55.4 percent of their field goal attempts. CMU led, 41-25, at halftime and outscored the Cardinals, 57-42, in the second half.
USING THE BENCH
CMU coach Keno Davis used 14 players. Rob Montgomery, a junior transfer from Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College, shared the team lead with DiLeo in rebounds with nine. CMU finished with a 43-30 rebounding edge.
McKay finished 10-for-13 from the field. CMU's top four scorers – McKay, Roundtree, Austin and DiLeo – finished a combined 27-of-38 from the floor (71 percent).
SHORT CASE OF NERVES
Austin admitted to having first game jitters, but they quickly faded with his first two points as a Chippewa, a dunk just 16 seconds into the game. On the night, he made eight of his 10 field goal attempts.
"First game in McGuirk added some nervousness, but after seeing the ball go in the (basket), all that goes away," Austin said.
Coach Keno Davis said Austin has unlimited potential.
"He's a kid who hasn't had a chance to play," Davis said. "He's worked hard, developed his game; great attitude, great person and now he gets a chance to not just be part of a team, but gets a chance to be one of the leaders on our team.
"He's the first guy coming to the huddle pointing to himself saying 'Hey, that's my fault.' Not the guy who's coming in from a Power 5 conference team that tries to tell guys what they're doing wrong. He's talking about what he can do to improve as a player because he wants to make this year special and play beyond this season."
ANOTHER OPENING NIGHT WIN
Tuesday's victory marked the sixth consecutive season opening-night win under Davis. CMU is 6-1 in season-opening games under the seventh-year coach.
The Chippewas play host to Chicago Sate on Friday (7 p.m.).