WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – The Central Michigan Chippewas hit three 3-pointers in the final 39 seconds in a frantic comeback attempt Tuesday at William & Mary. The Chippewas needed one more.
CMU trailed by nine points with just under a minute remaining, then clawed back to within three – and had the ball – with 8.9 seconds remaining only to fall short, 88-84, to the Tribe in a non-league game at Kaplan Arena. The loss dropped CMU to 6-6. The Chippwas play host to NAIA Lourdes (7-7) 1 p.m. Thursday at McGuirk Arena in their final non-conference game. The game featured 14 lead changes and was tied nine times.
“An exciting game for fans, a frustrating one for . . .
“I think that kind of shows where we are as a program, that we can come out and maybe not execute the way we needed to and maybe we didn’t do some of those little things in the game, and yet we didn’t lose our fight.
“We battled back and were a shot or two away from stealing one there late.”
The Chippewas’ largest deficit came with a minute to play, 80-71. But they charged back, getting 3-pointers from Braylon Rayson, Josh Kozinski and John Simons to pull within 87-84 with 12 seconds left.
Chris Fowler forced the Tribe into a turnover, giving the Chippewas possession with 8.9 seconds remaining. Rayson’s potential game-tying 3-pointer from the top of the key missed and William & Mary held on, improving to 8-3.
Rayson finished with 23 points to lead the Chippewas, while Fowler added a season-high 21, Simons had 14 and Rayshawn Simmons had 12.
Simons grabbed 10 rebounds and Simmons dished out five assists.
The Chippewas made 32 percent of their 3-point tries (12-of-37), and were 29-for-66 (44 percent) from the floor overall.
Omar Prewitt scored 23 points to lead five players in double figures for William & Mary, which made 49 percent (29-of-59) of its field goal attempts in winning its third consecutive game.
The Tribe was particularly effective in the second half, making 17-of-29 (58.6 percent) from the field in its Princeton-style backdoor offense.
“Awfully tough team to prepare for,” Davis said. “We’re not going to see anybody else like that. The backdoor cuts, the Princeton offense, it’s tough to guard. They run it exceptionally well.
“I give a lot of credit to William & Mary. They showed some of the weaknesses that we need to improve on as we head into the conference season in the next week.”
CMU, the defending Mid-American Conference regular-season champion and the preseason favorite, opens league play at home on Wednesday, Jan. 6, against Eastern Michigan (8-4).
(Courtesy of CMU Athletics)