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January 12, 2012

Chippewas defeat rival Eagles, 60-56

YPSILANTI, Mich. - Central Michigan shook off a rough first half to come back and defeat in-state rival Eastern Michigan on the road, 60-56, on Wednesday night in Ypsilanti.

With the win, the Chippewas (7-8 overall) start Mid-American Conference play 2-0 for just the third time in the last 21 years.

The guard trio of Derek Jackson, Austin McBroom and Trey Zeigler combined to score 39 of the Chippewas' 60 points as Jackson finished with a game-high 15, McBroom 13 and Zeigler 11.

CMU struggled from the start, hitting just one of its first 11 field goal attempts over the game's opening nine and a half minutes. Fortunately for the Chippewas, the Eagles (6-10, 1-1 Mid-American) were only able to build a five-point lead over the span and CMU's shots started to fall after that.

Central took its only lead of the first half when Zeigler's layup put CMU up, 11-10. But, EMU shot 48 percent from the field in the opening stanza compared to CMU's 31 percent clip and the home team went to the locker room with a 25-19 lead at the break.

After making just 1-of-7 3-point attempts in the first half, the Chippewas came out drilling three 3-pointers to tie the score up in the first three minutes and it was nip and tuck the rest of the way as the teams traded the lead nine times in the early stages of the late frame before CMU took control for good when Finis Craddock had a second-chance layup to give the Chippewas a 40-38 edge with 10:27 to go.

That sparked CMU on a 9-0 run before Antonio Green hit a 3-pointer to stop the Chippewa rally.

The Eagles were able to whittle the lead down to just two when Darrell Lampley hit a fadeaway 3-point from right in front of the Eagle bench making it 50-48 with just 4:18 to play. But, Lampley, the team's leading scorer on the season, would foul out minutes later when he went charging through the lane and was whistled for a player control foul as Zeigler stepped in to take the charge.

Without a timeout and over two minutes to go, CMU had to work against full court pressure by EMU and the Eagles ended up fouling the Chippewas sending both Craddock and McBroom to the line in the game's final 30 seconds. Both players went 2-for-2 from the stripe with McBroom's making it a two-possession game with just nine ticks left, giving the Chippewas their first true road win since the Princeton game back on Nov. 21.

"Our kids were so tough down the stretch," coach Ernie Zeigler said. "We were really tough to start that second half. We came out and played as bad as we could of in the first 20 minutes. We struggled attacking the zone and started to panic, which allowed them to get some easy buckets around the basket.

"Our inability to score was affecting our mindset. We talked about calming down and putting ourselves in a position to battle. We had a lot of guys that gave us a lot of great minutes in the second half."

Four Eagle players were in double figures with Jamell Harris notching 12, Green 11 and Lampley and Austin Harper 10 each.

Zeigler finished with his fifth career double-double, posting 11 points and 14 rebounds, along with a team-high tying three assists.

CMU shot 48 percent in the second half to finish with a .392 clip while the Eagles hit .429 from the floor for the game. The Chippewas drained 7-of-16 shots from the arc and went 13-for-21 from the stripe.

The Eagles were 10-for-15 from the line and won the board battle, 35-30.

Coimbra had eight points and seven boards off the bench while Olivier Mbaigoto notched five points and Craddock four.

Next up for the Chippewas is a road challenge at Northern Illinois on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 4:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. CST).

Stick to ChippewaCountry for the latest in CMU athletics and recruiting

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