The Chips relentless style of offensive basketball wore the Flashes down in the second half. The Chips took an early lead in the second half only to watch the Flashes come back and tie the game. Then, Larry Austin took over for CMU. Time and time again Austin drove to the hoop for big buckets as the Central Michigan pulled away from the Flashes and built a lead as high as 16 points with under 10 minutes left to play.
Kent State did make a run and cut the lead to seven several times mostly because holding the ball just isn’t in the Chips’ DNA. The Chips eventually did enough at the free throw line to claim the victory.
The first half was a close game until CMU made a 17-8 run late to take a 42-34 lead at the intermission. Both teams combined for 68 shots in the first half, including 29 three pointers, as both teams pushed the tempo. The CMU’s Shaun Roundtree was 5 of 6 from 3-point in the first half and finished with 16 points. All-MAC First Team guard Jaylin Walker was held to only five shots and six points in the first half for the Flashes.
For the game. Central Michigan had four players in double figures led by Austin’s 23. Roundtree (20), Dallas Morgan (16) and Kevin McKay (10) were the others for CMU. Walker finished with 19 for Kent State and his teammate, Philip Whittington had 23 points and 14 rebounds.
The Chippewas are now 23-10 on the year and advance to Friday evening’s first semifinal game against #1 seeded Buffalo. Kent State finishes the year at 22-10.