Remember when you were playing NBA Jam as a kid and just shot threes when your players were on fire? Well, that’s what it’s like to play basketball against Marcus Keene.
For Keene, the entire game against Ohio on Tuesday night was just one big “heat-check,” as he led CMU (15-8, 5-5) to the 97-87 victory. It was only the Chippewas’ second win in Athens in their last nine visits. Keene did what Marcus Keene does and absolutely balled out, as he finished the night with 41 points on 15-25 shooting and 9-18 from beyond the arc.
“He [Keene] got rolling tonight, he was good,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said after the game. “If I could have done anything different, I would have sent one of my GA’s over to their hotel to abduct Keene until after the game. But, honestly, I don’t think we were very good offensively tonight and there were times we were too three-centric.”
It was the fifth time this season Keene put up 40 or more points, which is more than Jimmer Fredette and Steph Curry had in the last 10 seasons of college basketball.
While it was Keene who put up the big points and hit the big shots, Braylon Rayson added 21 points and four assists. Even with the great game Keene had from beyond the arc, CMU dominated in the paint, putting up 34 points down low.
“Jason [Carter] looked like a freshman tonight and that’s okay,” Phillips said. “It’s not illegal for him to do that. We got beat up tonight inside. I didn’t see us swarming and closing down defensively.”
For Ohio (14-7, 6-4), they continued to play solid basketball after their win over Akron on Saturday. The Bobcats were led by Jaaron Simmons, Kenny Kaminski, Jordan Dartis and Gavin Block. Simmons, Dartis and Kaminski lit it up from three in the first half as the trio combined for nine of Ohio’s 11 threes in the first half.
“I’ve never had a kid score 40, it’s weird.” Simmons said after the game. “It doesn’t happen but you gotta respect it.”
Simmons followed up his career-high 38 points from Saturday with 30 points tonight. He also added nine assists and nine rebounds. Dartis was hot from beyond the arc all game and finished with 21 points, four rebounds and two assists.
The entire first half felt like the two teams were just trying to out-shoot each other from beyond the arc. To get a better understanding, there were more made threes in the first half (20) than there were two-pointers (16).
The Bobcats travel to Muncie next to take on Ball State in a nationally-televised game on CBS Sports Network. Tip-off is Friday at 6:30 p.m.
For the Chippewas, they’ll stay in Ohio and take on the Miami Redhawks on Saturday. Tip-off is at 3:30 p.m.