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Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Central Michigan Chippewas men's basketball final score: John Simons makes a lot of threes, Chips win 72-56

CMU drains 16 3-pointers, Raven Lee fouls out to hurt EMU's chances early on.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

16 three-pointers trained by #3MU


John Simons led things with 23 points for the Central Michigan Chippewas (21-5, 11-4 MAC), acting as their leading scorer for the night. 7-for-11 from 3-point range (8-for-13 in field goals) to finish in his 37 minutes on the floor. Him with those seven, Josh Kozinski making half of his 12 3-point attempts (18 points) and a combined three more long range shots from Rayshawn Simmons and Braylon Rayson (16 points combined) and the Eagles just couldn't find an answer.

"Any time [the other team] shoots 30+ three's, we feel we're in great shape, we'd love to force you to do that. But when allow teams to get open looks and they're good shooters, more times than not, they're gonna go in," Eastern Michigan Eagles (18-10, 7-8 MAC) head coach Rob Murphy said after the game.

The 2-3 zone forces teams to shoot the three. CMU's offense thrives because of how good of 3-point shooters they have. It's the perfect storm.

Chippewas with only a 5-point lead at the half

John Simons was absolutely lethal for Keno Davis and friends. He led with nine points at the half, all from long-range shots. Two of them were wide open looks, but the first shot he made was about a foot and a half deeper of a shot than you'd need it to be with a couple of hands in his face.

Rayshawn Simmons was a perfect 3-for-3 from the floor at halftime. He also had four assists with a pair of rebounds. He finished with eight points, four boards and a game-leading 10 assists.

Raven Lee with three fouls to begin the first half, and that schematically hurt the Eagles

Leading the Eagles with 16.1 points per game, it's important that he gets the minutes and makes his opportunities to score. It's not like there's many more players on the roster that fans could depend on for scoring. Any time he, Karrington Ward and/or Mike Talley are having a bad game, things just get too hard for the Eagles to come away with a win. The margin for error with these stars minuscule, and being fouled out ounce again with only 10 points to his name doesn't help their situation.

"We know if Ray isn't scoring the ball well, we may struggle to score," Murphy said. Murphy also noted that they didn't have anything "fluent going on on offense" and never got off to that early lead that he always hopes for. Lee's replacement in the game was Trent Perry, who only took and missed one shot in his 12 minutes on the floor while Lee was able to milk out 19. Jodan Price (1-for-4 from the floor) also saw 16 minutes off the bench.

Looking ahead

Both teams only have three games left. On Saturday, the Chippewas will have a night game at Northern Illinois before their final home game against Toledo on March 4 and will their season finale on March 6 at Western Michigan. The Eagles will have a pair of road games at Western Michigan and at Ball State this upcoming Saturday and Tuesday before their season finale at home against Toledo.

Game Leaders

Player Eastern Michigan Central Michigan
Points Mike Talley (16) John Simons (23)
Rebounds Jerome Hunter (6) Austin Stewart (8)
Assists 2 tied (2) Rayshawn Simmons (10)
Blocks Jerome Hunter (2) 2 tied (1)
Steals 3 tied (1) 4 tied (1)