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Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Milwaukee Panthers men's basketball recap: Despite late surge, CMU loses third straight in Florida, 84-78

After securing a dead-last finish in the Gulf Coast Showcase, the Chippewas face a pivotal point in their season, sitting at 2-3.

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The Gulf Coast Showcase was not kind to the Central Michigan Chippewas. After suffering back-to-back losses to Weber State and Western Kentucky, the Chippewas found themselves battling the Milwaukee Panthers for seventh place in the tournament (out of eight). The game wasn't as ugly as their loss to Western Kentucky, but head coach Keno Davis knows, as well as all Chippewa fans that tuned in, that the game could have and should have been won.

The first half belonged to Central Michigan. At the half, the score was 35-31 in favor of the Chippewas. They started the game hitting threes at a productive clip, with Braylon Rayson, John Simons, and Josh Kozinski making good from beyond the arc early. They helped the team live up to their 3MU nickname. The Central Michigan defense was able to limit Milwaukee's top scorer Matt Tiby, who scored 29 points in their last game against Duquesne, to five points in the first half.

The Chippewas lost control of the game in the second half thanks to multiple lengthy stretches of minutes where the offense untimely turned the ball over and allowed for easy transition buckets on the other end. At some points, the game got out of their hands, and the final score only looked so close because of a final two-minute comeback that fell short. The Panthers held a 15-point lead with 2:30 remaining, so the game looked nearly out of reach. However, full-court pressure forced a couple of turnovers by Milwaukee, and Rayshawn Simmons took advantage, scoring 11 points in the final two minutes.

John Simons had a quiet game, scoring only eight points off of two three-pointers in the first half and a pair of free throws in the second. However, he, along with Luke Meyer, was a force on the boards, recording eight rebounds. The Chippewas had great guard play, with Rayshawn Simmons recording 21 points and seven assists, and Braylon Rayson with 17 points and six rebounds. Austin Stewart also had himself a nice game, with 12 points, including two and-1's that helped extend Central Michigan's first half lead.

Despite a couple of impressive individual performances, the Chips were not able to put it together, for the third straight game. They have a couple days of for Thanksgiving, and will be back in action on November 30, against McNeese State, where they hope to rebound and get their season back on track.

Game Leaders

Player Milwaukee Central Michigan
Points J. Panoske (18)
R. Simmons (21)
Rebounds M. Tiby (7)
Two tied (8)
Assists J. Johnson (9)
R. Simmons (7)
Blocks N/A D. Scott (1)
Steals J. Johnson (2)
J. Simons (2)