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March 2, 2013

Backcourt helps Chippewas snap skid

DeKALB, Ill. - Freshman guard Chris Fowler led Central Michigan in scoring and assists and fellow point guard Kyle Randall matched his team-high rebounding total as the Chippewas snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 69-50 win at Northern Illinois.

Fowler, making an increasingly stronger bid with each late-season game for Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Chippewas (10-18, 3-11 MAC) in scoring for the third consecutive night, but this time also grabbed a team-best five rebounds while dishing out a game-high eight assists to just three turnovers.

"He's quickly improving," said head coach Keno Davis. "We knew what we had in him early, but we're already seeing the transformation of a freshman into a sophomore right now. If he stays healthy and has a good off-season he can be a real weapon for us next year."

The Chippewas used a 15-2 run to go up 45-35 with 10:41 remaining, thanks in large part to their three-point shooting which climbed as high as 64 percent before the final few minutes.

The Huskies (5-2, 3-11 MAC) meanwhile, hit just 1-of-14 from long range and had a significant disadvantage at the free throw line as well. They put the Chippewas into the bonus just seven minutes into the contest and sent them to the line a total of 26 times - 15 more than their own 11 attempts.

Kyle Randall's 14 points and John Simons' 10 joined Fowler's 16 to comprise Central Michigan's three double-figure scorers. Fowler shot 4-of-6 from the field and 7-of-11 from the line and his five rebounds combined with Randall's five to account for one-third of the Chippewas' total.

Central avenged a loss to the Huskies earlier this season that started the 10-game skid.

"This team never lost that intensity or the enthusiasm or attitude but you worry during a losing streak that you could lose it," said Davis. "A pre-emptive win is good medicine for us tonight."

The Chippewas will play their final home game of the season Tuesday night versus Eastern Michigan.

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