Chippewas Fall to Rival Eastern Michigan, 86-82

Central Michigan University had no answer for Eastern Michigan forward John Bowler as he scored 24 points to lead the Eagles to an 86-82 Mid-American Conference win Sunday afternoon at Rose Arena.

Eastern Michigan junior forward John Bowler was a scoring machine Sunday against rival Central Michigan, leading the Eagles to an 86-82 victory.

He scored from in the paint and at the charity stripe, converting 12 of a school and Rose Arena record (for an opponent) 19 free throw attempts.

In fact, the Eagles (9-4, 3-1) made 41 of a record 60 free throw attempts in the game.

"We shot a lot of free throws," EMU head coach Jim Boone said. "We're aggressive getting the ball inside and the result is going to be free throws.

"I'm proud of my team," Boone added. "That's an exceptional, well-coached team that we beat in a tough environment."

Central Michigan (6-6, 1-3 MAC), led for most of the first half, building a six-point advantage before Bowler converted a three-point play to end the first half with CMU leading, 40-37.

Fortunes changed for the Chippewas in the second half though. With 17:19 remaining and the game tied at 48, EMU went on a 10-0 run, aided by five CMU fouls and three consecutive turnovers during the five minute stretch.

"The tale of the game was fouls and turnovers," CMU head coach Jay Smith said. "We fouled too much. We've got to move our feet and not grab so much."

Trailing 74-58 with 6:14 remaining, the Chippewas were seemingly done. That's when CMU used a 12-0 run, keyed by Kevin Nelson (seven points) and Sefton Barrett (five points), to close the gap to 74-70 with 3:30 remaining.

"You're sitting there as a coach and you know CMU is going to make a run," Boone said. "Nelson is an incredible player. And if somebody had told me before the game that Sefton Barrett was going to score 23 points I'd have said there's no way we're going to win."

Barrett did score 23 points to lead four CMU players in double-figures, but it wasn't enough to overcome the Eagles in the end.

"We get frustrated when we get down three or four possessions," Smith said. "We came back and made a game of it. I liked the way we fought today, but the rebounding and turnovers down the stretch hurt us."

The Chippewas were outrebounded by EMU 39-28, led by center James Jackson's 12. CMU committed 16 turnovers compared to 23 by the Eagles.

For the game, CMU shot 45.6 percent from the field, compared to 48.8 percent for EMU. Nelson (14 points), Giordan Watson (13) and Robert Sevalia (10), joined Barrett in double-figures scoring for the Chippewas.

CMU converted 22-of-28 free throw attempts and was 8-of-21 from 3-point range.

Four players fouled out in the game, including Barrett, Watson and Eddie Spencer for the Chippewas.

CMU's next game is scheduled for this Wednesday when it travels to Miami University. Tipoff against the Redhawks is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Chippewas return home for a game Saturday, Jan. 15, against Northern Illinois. Tipoff in that game is set for 2 p.m.

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