MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - It was a game Central Michigan had typically lost in the past. Teams such as Tennessee State, Wright State and South Dakota State have curtailed the Chippewas early season momentum the past few years, and Texas State appeared to be just the type of opponent to continue that trend.
But, it is becoming clearer by the day: This is not the Chippewas of years past. CMU put the throttle into high gear and used head coach Keno Davis's up-tempo offense to defeat Texas State 92-80. The 92 points scored was the most by a CMU team since the 2007-08 season when the Chippewas defeated Buffalo 100-96 in double overtime, and they never scored 90+ points in any game during the previous four years.
"I know I've been saying it, but I'm really proud of this group," added Davis. "To come into a season with people saying it's a rebuilding process, just trying to be competitive night in and night out was the goal for a lot of people. But the seniors we had and all the freshman coming in came together and wanted to make this a special year."
UNC Greensboro transfer Kyle Randall continued to look like a steal for CMU and a mistake for his previous team with a team high 18 points and four assists. Sophomore guard Austin Keel may have broken out of his slump with a career high 17 points, and true freshman John Simons also added a career high of 17 points. Chris Fowler would add 9 points and seven assists, while Blake Hibbitts lead the way with eight rebounds.
CMU shot 53.7% from the field and 45.8% from the three point line. The Chippewas also were 23-31 from the FT line, and they used their hot shooting and aggressiveness to offset the Texas State big men. The front line of the Bobcats would combine for 60 points and 24 rebounds, with Joel Wright leading the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 1:01 left in the game.
Central Michigan improves to 6-4 overall, continuing their best start since the 2004-05 season. They will next head to El Paso, Texas for the West Star Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitation on the campus of UNLV to face Nebraska on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 7PM.