Another game without Chris Fowler, another Chippewas victory.
The Central Michigan Chippewas (2-0, 0-0 MAC) defeated the Division III Alma Scots by the final score of 79-64, but they'll take the result as long as it's on the right side of the hyphen.
CMU struggled for the second straight game and was once again forced to ditch their patented #3MU offense, as Josh Kozinski and company had a cold night from downtown and the scrappy Scots made CMU play their game. Ultimately, Alma couldn't keep up in the end, and that saved CMU's bacon.
Rayshawn Simmons had another great performance in this one in the stead of Chris Fowler, who is out "for a couple weeks" with an undisclosed injury, leading all scorers with 18 points. John Simons also had himself a night, seeming to shake off the rust from a bad Jacksonville State game. Simons set a new career high in this game, grabbing 14 rebounds to give the Chips the advantage on the glass, and also added 16 points, giving him a double double. Central Michigan also had two other players in double digits in Luke Meyer (16 points in 22 minutes) and Braylon Rayson (11 points.)
In this game, Central Michigan utilized their size against a smaller Alma team that showed that they can shoot the three pointer as well as CMU could. DJ Beckman (16 points, 6-12 from field goal range, 4-9 from three-point range,) and Scott Nikodemski (15 points, 4-8 from three-point range) led the Scots in the upset effort.
Alma stayed tough with CMU, trailing by only 12 points at the half, with a chance to cut the game to single digits. The Scots also scored 34 points in the second half, only three less points than Central's 37. The result is a bit concerning for the Chippewas, as the presence of Fowler is sorely missed. Without Fowler's senior leadership, the team is made of very young pieces that are still getting a feel for college ball.
Coach Keno Davis would like his team to be able to drive the ball and show that they can do more than just drop threes. A lot of work was put in during the offseason to make the attack more balanced, and it seems to have worked over the last two games, despite the less than pleasing results score-wise. Today's result shows that CMU will have some work to do going into the rest of the non-conference season.
The Chippewas now look forward to November 23rd, when the Chippewas will play against Weber State in the first game of the Gulf Coast Showcase.