ATHENS, Ohio – No heroic 3-pointer necessary. It was Marcus Keene simply being himself -- again.
Keene scored 41 points, going over the 40-point mark for the fifth time this season, in leading Central Michigan to a 97-87 Mid-American Conference victory on Tuesday over Ohio at the Convocation Center.
The win, the Chippewas’ . . .
“If we can just take care of business and win more than we lose down the stretch, we should be in nice shape to make a conference-tournament run,” said CMU coach Keno Davis, whose team plays at Miami (Ohio) on Saturday. “Some nights we look really good and other nights we look like a work in progress. Tonight we showed glimpses of the team we hoped we would be by the end of the season.
“Win or lose, if we play that hard and that confident, we’re going to have our chances down the stretch.”
Keene, who on Friday hit a dramatic 3-pointer with 4.3 seconds left to lift CMU to a win over rival Western Michigan, continued his torrid pace, making 15 of his 25 shots from the field including 9-of-18 from 3-point range.
It was the 14th time this season that Keene, a junior guard in his first season at CMU after transferring from Youngstown State, has scored at least 30 points in a game.
He entered Tuesday’s game leading the nation in scoring at 30.2 points per game. He has scored at least 30 points 14 times in a game this season.
“I don’t have any words for that,” Davis said. “It’s another day at the office for him. He’s quite a talent. I don’t know what we can say about Marcus Keene that we haven’t already said. Just another 41 points in 39 minutes. Kind of on his normal pace.”
Keene hit four 3-pointers and scored 13 points during a four-plus minute span late in the second half to help the Chippewas pull away.
CMU led, 78-75, when Keene drilled a triple with 7:41 left. He hit a free throw and three more treys, the last of which came at the 3:35 mark and left the Chippewas firmly in charge, 93-77.
Braylon Rayson added 21 points and DaRohn Scott had nine for CMU, which outscored the Bobcats, 34-14, in the paint and finished with a 41-35 rebounding advantage. Cecil Williams led CMU with 11 rebounds.
“I think it shows you that you don’t have to have that typical post-up offense,” Davis said. “We would like to have that in our offense and hopefully we will by next year, but we’re still able to find ways to get to the basket.
“I think we’re showing that even though we’re undersized, we’re still able to make impacts in those areas that usually go to the bigger, stronger, maybe more experienced team.”
It marked the 10th consecutive MAC game that Rayson has scored 20 or more points. The senior guard was 7-for-14 from the field, including 2-of-4 from 3-point range.
The Chippewas made 45.7 of their 3-point attempts (16-for-35) and 50.7 percent of their field goal attempts overall (34-for-67).
Ohio, which hit 40.0 percent of its field goals and 43.2 percent from long distance, put four player in double figures. Jaarom Simmons led the way with 30 points and nine rebounds. Jordan Dartis registered 21 points, followed by Gavin Block (15) and Kenny Kaminski (14).