The Chippewas are 4-0 for the first time since 2000-01. They play host to Grand Canyon on Saturday, trying to become the first CMU team to begin a season 5-0 since 1980-81. Grand Canyon is coached by Chippewa Hall of Famer Dan Majerle.
"It means a lot to us," CMU captain Chris Fowler said of the 4-0 start. "We've been working hard and we're glad that our hard work is beginning to show. But there are added expectations to starting off like that, and that means there is more hard work to be done."
With Pine Bluff employing a zone defense, the Chippewas put their outside shooting on display, making 15-of-23 attempts from beyond the arc. That, and a 20-for-23 performance at the free throw line, was more than enough against Pine Bluff (1-3).
"I think they posed a challenge to us with their defense," CMU coach Keno Davis said. "They were aggressive on the perimeter but also very physical on the inside. I think Pine Bluff is a lot better team than they showed this weekend, and I would not be surprised to see them be one of the top teams in their league this season.
"I think it was good for us to go against a team that would pose a different challenge, and obviously they did that with their physicality."
The 15 three-pointers is one shy of the school record set in 1999 against Detroit.
Rayson, who was in foul trouble before the game was seven minutes old and spent just six minutes on the court in the first half, was 4-of-6 from three-point range on the day.
"If I catch it and I feel like I can shoot it, I just shoot it, I don't even look at where I am," said Rayson, who has made 43 percent of his three-point tries this season.
Rayson played just 15 minutes in Friday's tournament-opening victory over Maine because of an injury.
"It was nice to see Braylon come back and put together such a nice stat line after being injured in the first game," Davis said. "He continued to fight through the game on Friday where he rolled his ankle and just wasn't himself. It is nice to see him put up 18 points (on Sunday), not only while dealing with foul trouble, but also only playing 16 minutes. It shouldn't surprise anybody to see him be able to put up points in a hurry."
"I've played against him in open gym," Fowler said, "and if you don't get out there on him, you might lose."
Rayshawn Simmons added a career-high 10 points as six Chippewas scored at least eight. Austin Stewart was CMU's top rebounder with seven. The Chippewas out-rebounded the Golden Lions, 35-29.
Simmons and John Simons, who scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds, were named to the all-tournament team. Simons was a perfect five-for-five from three-point territory and Simmons dished out a career-high nine assists in the Chippewas' tournament-opening win over Maine on Friday.
The Chippewas made 20 field goals and were credited with 16 assists, an outstanding ratio, in Sunday's win. Fowler, who had eight points, dished out a team-high eight assists and moved into sixth place on CMU's all-time list with 372 career helpers.
The Chippewas not only held Pine Bluff to 17-of-52 shooting from the floor (32.7 percent), the Golden Lions made just one three-pointer in 13 attempts.
JoVaughn Love scored 16 points to lead Pine Bluff and earned a spot on the all-tournament team, joining Simmons and Simons, and Valparaiso's Alec Peters and Vashil Frenandez, and Maine's Shaun Lawton.
Valparaiso defeated Maine, 93-70, in Sunday's early game. Peters scored 31 points to lead the Crusaders (4-1). Lawton scored 16 for Maine (0-4).
(Courtesy of CMU Athletics)