It was the second double-double of the season for Simons, who ignited the Chippewas with three three-pointers as they jumped to a 15-0 lead in winning at Ohio for the first time since 2002 and swept the season series from the Bobcats for the first time since 1988-89.
"Our guys, they continue to surprise -- that they come out in a hostile arena like this and start that way," said CMU coach Keno Davis, whose team outrebounded the Bobcats, 40-29 including 15-7 on the offensive end. "We haven't started that way all year, especially on the road. We came out and we were flying around on those offensive rebounds.
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Stevie Taylor scored 15 points to lead Ohio. The Chippewas held Ohio's top two scorers, Javarez Willis and Maurice Ndour, to nine points each. Both entered averaging more than 15 per game.
Rayshawn Simmons added 14 points and Austin Stewart had nine for CMU, which improved to 17-5 overall, 7-4 MAC, equaling the number of conference wins it had in the last two years combined.
The Chippewas remain a game behind Toledo, a 92-88 winner over Buffalo on Tuesday, in the MAC West. CMU goes to Buffalo (15-8, 6-5) on Saturday afternoon.
"It's nice to get the season sweep (from Ohio) before we go to Buffalo," Davis said. "That trip is just as long as this one is, but it'll feel a little shorter coming off of a win."
Simons hit three triples and had 11 points as the Chippewas raced to their 15-0 advantage and Ohio never got its deficit under double digits the rest of the way.
The Chippewas led 39-20 at halftime and upped their advantage to a game-high 25, 56-31, on a Stewart layup with 10:40 remaining.
Stewart and Simmons combined to go 7-for-8 from the free throw line over the final 1:43 to hold the Bobcats at bay. Stewart finished with seven rebounds, four of which came on the offensive end.
The Chippewas, who entered the game making 39 percent of their triple tries on the season, won despite a subpar performance from long range. The Chippewas made just six of their 28 three-point field goal attempts (21 percent), but they forced 14 Ohio turnovers.
Davis also appreciated his team’s work on the boards where CMU enjoyed a 40-29 advantage. Ohio outrebounded the Chippewas, 34-28, when the teams met at McGuirk Arena 10 days ago.
"A lot of that was because of those offensive rebounds, where we shot and we missed, but we'd get another look, and another look," he said. "This team, we had just played nine, 10 days ago, and got outrebounded at home by six.
"So to turn around and outrebound them on their court like that, it just shows that we've got some basketball left in us this year. We're not fading at the finish and of course that's the idea, to continue to improve and hopefully stay as healthy as you can."
The victory further strengthened the signal that CMU is a legitimate contender for the MAC title. It was also a shining example of how far the program has come in a relatively short time.
Last season, Central squandered an 18-point lead in losing at Ohio.
"It went through my mind the whole second half," Davis said, referring to that loss. "I wasn't going to bring it up to (the players).
"Our guys have really stayed together. You really have to credit the character, the quality of the student-athletes that we have, that stuck together before this (successful) period. These juniors, for two years, continued to come to the gym and work and give great effort when success wasn't right on the horizon for them."
(Courtesy of CMU Athletics)