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January 15, 2014

CMU can't overcome late shooting at BGSU

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Central Michigan went toe-to-toe with Bowling Green on the boards, despite a sizeable height disadvantage, but cold shooting from the field in the second half proved to be the deciding factor in the Chippewas' 67-57 setback to the host Falcons on Wednesday night.

Facing a Falcons' front line that featured players measuring 6-foot-7, 6-foot-8 and 6-foot-10, CMU battled BGSU to a draw in rebounds with each team totaling 30. But the Chippewas couldn't overcome shooting just 26 percent (8-of-30) from the field in the second half and dropped their third-straight conference contest.

Sophomore guard Chris Fowler once again lead CMU, scoring 19 points to go along with five assists, three steals and three rebounds. Sophomore Blake Hibbitts totaled 14 points, making 5-of-7 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 three-pointers.

Turnovers proved costly in the first half for Central Michigan (7-8, 0-3 MAC). The Chippewas equaled their game average in the opening 20 minutes, turning the ball over 10 times, which Bowling Green converted into 15 points.

With the score tied at 16-16 at the 10:16 mark, CMU looked to be taking control of the game, embarking on a 10-3 run, highlighted by a three-point play by Austin Keel and a three-pointer from Hibbitts. However, a Fowler jumper with 5:59 remaining in the half to make the score 26-19 would be the Chippewas' last for the next 5:32.

The Falcons quickly turned the tables on CMU and went on a 14-2 run to end the half. Only a Rayshawn Simmons jumper with 27 seconds remaining stemmed the Bowling Green tide. Despite shooting 60 percent for the half, CMU went to the break down 33-28.

Bowling Green (7-9, 1-2 MAC) started the second half hot, quickly upping its lead to 14 points at 44-30. CMU fought back with a 14-3 run, getting three-pointers from John Simons and Spencer Krannitz and capped off by a jumper from Hibbitts at the 9:15 mark.

Clinging to just a five-point lead, the Falcons responded to outscore CMU 12-2 over the next five minutes and push their advantage back to 15 at 60-45.

Refusing to go down without one more fight, the Chippewas mounted a final comeback attempt. After two free throws and a three-pointer by Fowler, Hibbitts knocked down a trey of his own to make the score 60-53 with just over two minutes left to play. But the CMU rally ran out of steam and the Chippewas could get no closer in the remaining time.

Richaun Holmes and Spencer Parker each posted a game-high 20 points to lead Bowling Green. Holmes was also strong on the boards for the Falcons, pulling down 10 rebounds. Anthony Henderson also reached double figures, scoring 13.

The Chippewas return home this weekend, hosting in-state rival Eastern Michigan (10-6, 2-1 MAC) on Saturday in a 7 p.m. game at McGuirk Arena.

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