CMU Rally Falls Short Against Wright State

Central Michigan trailed Wright State by 12 points midway through the second half Tuesday night at McGuirk Arena before Jalin Thomas led a Chippewa comeback. The Raiders prevailed in the end though, posting a 53-49 victory.

Central Michigan came up on the short end of another closely contested game, losing to Wright State Tuesday night at McGuirk Arena, 53-49.

Senior Jalin Thomas led the Chippewas (2-7) with 17 points and freshman Derek Jackson added 12, but CMU could not quite overtake the Raiders in the end.

After opening the season with a 70-67 win against Cal State Fullerton in the Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, the Chippewas have gone 1-7, including two overtime losses and three other games not decided until the final possession.

"We're giving great effort," CMU head coach Ernie Zeigler said. "It came down to a one possession game again at the end."

Both teams struggled early offensively, until Wright State (6-5) went on a 7-0 run midway through the first half to take a 16-9 lead. The Chippewas battled back though, trimming the WSU lead to 23-21 at the half.

The Raiders offense began to click in the second half. Following a Troy Tabler 3-pointer at the 11:13 mark, WSU led the Chippewas 44-32, the largest lead of the game.

Thomas then took charge, scoring all 13 points in a 13-1 CMU run, including three 3-pointers, to even the score at 45-45 with 7:27 remaining. The Chippewas had opportunities to take the lead, but failed down the stretch.

"We need to do a better job of executing down the stretch, we've got to keep pushing," Thomas said. "Wright State did a very good job of scouting us."

First-year WSU head coach Billy Donlon said his team was focused on shutting down Thomas and freshman guard Trey Zeigler.

"Zeigler and Thomas are very good players," Donlon said. "You're not going to keep good scorers down for an entire game. That game for us could have gone a lot of different directions. We rebounded the ball, that was the biggest key."

Although CMU center William McClure was the leading rebounder of the game with 10, the Raiders dominated the boards otherwise at both ends of the court, outrebounding the Chippewas, 37-19.

Zeigler summed up CMU's offensive shortcomings against Wright State's zone defense.

"We have to be a little more patient, we need to get some inside-out action going," Zeigler said. "We've got to stay aggressive."

The Chippewas now prepare for the University of Detroit-Mercy this Saturday at McGuirk Arena in a much anticpiated matchup with the Titans. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

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