Missed opportunities prevented Central Michigan from overcoming Kent State in a 67-60 Mid-American Conference loss at home Tuesday night.
The Chippewas (7-14, 2-6 MAC) let a five-point lead slip away in the final minutes of the first half, scoring just two points at the foul line in the final 2:44, while a 7-2 run by the Golden Flashes (15-6, 5-3 MAC) was capped with a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer that tied the game at 32.
The scoring drought continued after the break as 4:21 ticked off the clock before a three-pointer by Andre Coimbra put the Chippewas on the board again. A 14-3 start for the Golden Flashes over the first six minutes of the second half gave them their largest lead of the game, 46-35.
Despite being held without a field goal for the final three minutes of the first half and five more minutes after halftime, the Chippewas were able to fight backwithin one possession by the 10:26 mark, and field goals on three consecutive trips made it a 54-53 game with 7:22 remaining. McBroom's three-pointer that brought the Chippewas within one, however, was the last CMU field goal for the next six minutes as the Golden Flashes' lead climbed to as many as eight, 62-54, at the 1:47 mark.
"We have to stay away from these long scoring droughts," said head coach Ernie Zeigler. "We got in a hurry around the basket and missed a lot of layups, and when I look at the 18 turnovers, we missed a lot of opportunities. A lot of those turnovers came when we were heading to the basket or in the lane."
Neither team led by more than two possessions in the first half, despite the GoldenFlashes out-shooting the Chippewas by 17 percent from the field, 50.0 to 43.3.
"We played well enough on defense to win," said sophomore guard Trey Zeigler, who scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds, "but mistakes on offense didn't allow us to capitalize on our opportunities."
Rebounding kept the Chippewas in the game as they doubled-up the Golden Flashes on theoffensive glass, 13-6, and out-rebounded them 32-28 overall, but poor shooting close to the basket led to just 20 points in the paint.
"We just have to do a better job once we get those second and third chances," said Zeigler.
"We gave great effort and I'm really pleased with how we battled tonight, but you have to be able to execute when you're playing a good team. When you don't,those situations get amplified."
Austin McBroom led all Chippewas with a career-high 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 4-of-8 from long range. Coimbra joined McBroom and Zeigler in double figures with 13 points and also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
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