"I didn't see it," said Davis, CMU's coach. "I was, uh, having a conversation with an official."
With CMU owning a 34-25 lead against Toledo at the time, the question became: How would the Chippewas respond with Keene and his 29.3 points per game average gone?
No worries. Reserves DaRohn Scott, David DiLeo and Matty Smith worked with steady Braylon Rayson to keep the Chippewas in front until halftime. A solid second half -- and the return of Keene -- helped CMU beat Toledo, 96-88, on Friday for its first Mid-American Conference victory of the season.
"When he went down with . . .
CMU is 11-6 overall, 1-3 in the MAC, and found an answer against another strong big man. The Chippewas prevailed despite Toledo's Steve Taylor Jr., a 6-foot-9, 240-pounder who finished with 20 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Rockets, 9-8 overall, 2-2 in the MAC.
Joining Taylor in double figures for UT were Jonathan Williams(game-high 30 points), Jaelan Sanford (18) and Jordan Lauf (13).
"It feels good to win," Rayson said. "Got to get that one, now we've got to get two in a row."
The key on Friday, Davis said, was rebounding. For the first time since a victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 3, the Chippewas outrebounded an opponent. Seven CMU players had four or more rebounds as the Chippewas outrebounded Toledo, 44-37.
"That was a bigger team," Davis said. "Stronger team. To be able to (out)-rebound them, it turned out to be the difference in the game."
Keene, who returned early in the second period, finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. Rayson led Central with 28 points and had five rebounds and four assists. DiLeo, a freshman, finished with 17 points and four rebounds. Luke Meyer, a senior center-forward, had 11 points to go with six rebounds.
"That's as much Braylon Rayson and Marcus Keene getting five and seven rebounds as it is Luke and DaRohn being able to hold down that center spot," Davis said. "When we do it as a team, we can out-rebound anybody in this league. But when we don't, we're going to have long nights in front of us."
Meyer said that after facing Akron's Isaiah Johnson, the Chippewas knew what they were facing. Practice, he said, also helped.
"Our scout team has been doing really well in terms of preparing us for the two teams we've played recently, and give credit to them for getting us ready," Meyer said. "Other than that, we just try to go out and stay as focused as possible and play as hard as possible."
Central is at Ball State on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game. The Chippewas' next home game is at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 21 against Miami (Ohio).
Toledo returns hosts rival Bowling Green Tuesday (7 p.m. ET). It is the middle game of a five-game stretch in which the Rockets play four road tilts.
(Courtesy of CMU Athletics)