It was a stereotypical tale of two halves at McGuirk Arena in Mt. Pleasant, as the Central Michigan Chippewas, who started out hot in the first half, were unable to stave an overwhelming Purdue Boilermakers comeback in the second half to fall by a final score of 79-69 on Friday night.
Purdue’s Karissa McLaughlin led the way for the Boilermakers, scoring a team-high 21 points while collecting 2 rebounds and 5 assists in 31 minutes of action. Tiara Murphy, however, was the player of the game for the Boilermakers, scoring 19 points in 27 minutes, with 18 of those points in the third quarter on 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range, including a 9-0 run on her own.
Andreona Keys (19 points, 8 rebounds) and Ae’Rianna Harris (8 points, 6 rebounds) were also key for the Boilermakers.
Reyna Frost led the way for the Chippewas, scoring a double-double with five minutes to spare in the first half, finishing with 23 points and 16 rebounds for CMU. Presely Hudson (21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists), Michaela Harris (12 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists) and Cassie Breen (9 points on 3-of-5 shots from beyond the arc) were also major contributors for CMU.
The Chippewas were simply sensational on their home floor to start the first half, limiting the Boilermakers to just eight points in the first quarter and to 17 in the second quarter. CMU scored 47 points on nearly 48 percent shooting from the field to really place the pressure to perform on Purdue.
Perform they did, as the Boilermakers returned the favor in the third quarter, opening on a 13-0 run which eventually morphed to a 30-8 run prior to the end of the quarter. The Boilermakers also put the clamps down defensively, forcing 10 of CMU’s 23 turnovers in that span and limiting CMU to 13 third-quarter points
CMU outrebounded Purdue 39-23, but the Boilermakers caused more turnovers by a margin of 23-11, allowing more opportunities on offense.
Purdue converted on 26-of-54 field goals, including 9-of-16 from three to finish at a 48 percent clip, while CMU converted on 25-of-59 field goals, including 11-of-23 from three, to finish at 42.4 percent. Purdue also won the free throw battle, converting 18-of-25 (72 percent) as CMU drew 21 personal fouls to Purdue’s 13.
The loss puts a major dent in the Chippewas’ resume, as a win against Purdue, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2016, would have been huge for a potential at-large bid.
Not all hope is lost, however, as the Chips will have more chances to prove its worth with SEC member Vanderbilt and College of Charleston visiting McGuirk Arena before the Chips leave for the Bahamas to take on Tulane, Iowa State and San Diego State in the Junkanoo Jam over Thanksgiving break.
Purdue will next take on the Miami RedHawks in West Lafayette, Indiana.