The Central Michigan Chippewas hadn’t won a postseason game since its 2003 NCAA Tournament first-round upset of Creighton University, but that all changed on Monday afternoon, as the Chippewas went on the road and defeated the IPFW Mastodons, 94-89, in Fort Wayne, Indiana to win the Hugh Durham Classic and move on to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Four different Chippewas scored in double figures. David DiLeo led the way for Central Michigan, as he scored 22 points and grabbed five rebounds. Kevin McKay added 20 points, Luke Meyer scored 18 points, and Shawn Roundtree Jr. added 14 points. Meyer, who walked away with game MVP honors, also had seven rebounds while McKay had five rebounds and Roundtree Jr. dished out nine assists.
Central Michigan was able to knock down over fifty percent of their field goal attempts on the afternoon, finishing 33-of-60. The Chippewas went off from downtown, as #3MU made 17 of their 39 (44%) shots from beyond the arc.
The Chippewas bowed up from the charity stripe once again, sinking 11 of their 13 (85%) attempts at the charity stripe, including what would ultimately be two important free throws to push the lead to three by Shawn Roundtree in the waning minutes. Central Michigan out rebounded IPFW, 35-27, which proved to be key down the stretch as well.
Four Mastodons scored in double figures as well. Bryson Scott led all scorers with 28 points. Xzavier Taylor scored 20 points, Jax Levitch added 11 points and Jordon King scored 10 points. Fort Wayne was able to knock down 33 of their 60 (55%) shots on the afternoon. The Mastodons made 11 of their 33 (33%) shots from beyond the arc, and 12 of their 15 (80%) shots at the free throw line.
These two teams loved to run the floor and run up the scoreboard. Central Michigan had the lead at 10 in the 1st half, but IPFW was able to come back and draw the score to 45-44 with the Chippewas leading at halftime on the momentum of an 8-0 run.
It was a game of runs throughout, resulting in some furious action as the clock wound down. There were ten lead changes, with CMU’s biggest lead being 10, while Fort Wayne managed to get up by as much as four points.
With just 1:32 left in the game, Kason Harrell made a three pointer to give the Mastodons a 89-87 lead. But Luke Meyer would answer back with a three of his own on the next possession, all but cementing the victory for CMU.
With the victory, CMU secures its 20th victory of the season for the second time in the last four years. They will play one of Wofford (21-12), Northern Colorado (22-12), Portland State (20-13) or Sam Houston State (19-14) when the bracket is re-structured after Wednesday night’s games.