The 49 points was far and away Ohio’s lowest point total of the season, and it was more than 30 below the ‘Cats season average.
The win lifted CMU to 10-9 (3-3 MAC). Ohio fell to 11-7 (2-4 MAC). It was the Chippewas’ third consecutive victory over the Bobcats, something CMU had not accomplished since 1987.
Luke Meyer and Braylon Rayson scored 14 points apiece and Chris Fowler added 11 to lead the Chippewas, who snapped a two-game losing streak. In those two losses, at Buffalo and at Northern Illinois, the Chippewas struggled at key times to score. That wasn’t necessarily the case on Saturday.
“Going into the year, we knew . . .
“On nights where we’ve given up a lot of points, I continue to preach that we weren’t that bad defensively, even though it might have seemed like that in the game and on a night-to-night basis.
“When we hold them to 49 points and 28 percent (shooting) in the second half, we’re not that good defensively yet either. We’re somewhere in the middle, but more importantly, can we continue to work hard and improve? And if we do, then we can win games with our defense; we can win games with our rebounding.”
Fowler finished with nine assists against just two turnovers and the Chippewas outrebounded Ohio, 37-29. John Simons and Rayson led CMU with seven rebounds apiece.
Antonio Campbell, a 6-foot-10 junior, paced Ohio with 17 points and 12 rebounds. No other Bobcat scored in double figures. CMU limited Ohio to just three 3-pointers on 16 attempts.
“Our focus all week in practice has been on the defensive end,” Meyer said. “We’ve come out and had two tough losses and knew that we needed to pick it up on the defensive end and the offense will come, as it did tonight.”
The Chippewas broke a 20-20 tie on a Meyer layup with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half. They pushed their way to a 35-28 halftime lead, then started the second half with a 12-5 surge to up their advantage to 14, 47-33, with under 14 minutes to play.
Ohio never got closer than 11 the rest of the way. CMU won going away, scoring the final eight points of the game.
CMU finished 5-for-20 from 3-point territory (25 percent), but was 30-of-59 (50.8 percent) overall from the floor. DaRohn Scott matched his season-high with eight points for CMU.
Scott and Meyer, the Chippewas’ two post players, finished a combined 10-for-14 from the floor.
“To be able to go 10-14, a lot of that coming off of the pick-and-roll, I think it shows their development, but it also shows that our guards are working on passing and penetration,” Davis said.
The Chippewas are 9-1 at McGuirk this season, and have won 25 of their last 27 at home.
“I think familiar balls, familiar rims help,” said Meyer in explaining CMU’s home-court success. “Home-court advantage is huge. If you get a steal, a block, a free throw, or a score, you get a cheer. It feels really good and it’s deflating to the other team.”
Saturday’s result was a relief, and, perhaps, a confidence boost, Rayson said.
“We know we’re going to have those times where we are a couple plays away from winning a game,” he said. “That’s how it’s been. We lost some very close games and we could have finished them, but we didn’t. We learned from that and we’re growing.”
Central Michigan is at Miami (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)
Ohio is at Toledo (Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET)
(Courtesy of CMU Athletics)