Chippewas Fall to Eastern Michigan, 80-69

The Central Michigan University men's basketball team took an early lead on rival Eastern Michigan but couldn't hold it in an 80-69 loss Wednesday night at Rose Arena.

The Chippewas built an early 12-5 lead on Eastern Michigan, but the Eagles took charge in the second half and coasted to an 80-69 Mid-American Conference win.

"Numbers aside, it's always nice to get a road win," EMU head coach Charles Ramsey said. "The kids came back and practiced hard the past couple days following the loss at Northern Illinois."

Leading 30-25 at the half, EMU (7-19, 3-14 MAC) used a 10-0 run at the beginning of the second stanza to open an insurmountable 44-35 lead.

It was another disappointing home court loss for CMU (4-22, 1-16 MAC), despite a great second half effort by Sefton Barrett, who scored 26 of his career and game-high 29 points after the break.

"Every loss is frustrating," CMU head coach Jay Smith said. "We're not playing our best when our best is needed. Sefton disappeared the past couple games but tonight he got himself going."

Smith said he was also pleased with the play of true freshman Chris Kellermann, who tallied eight of the Chippewas first 10 points in the contest. He finished the game with 15 points, converting 5-of-7 shots from the field, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc and 2-of-3 free throws.

"At one point we had four freshman out there," Smith said. "We're a young team."

Eastern Michigan had four players in double-figures, including senior center John Bowler, who scored 21 points and added 14 rebounds, and senior guard Danny McElhinny, who also contributed 21 points.

"John is our biggest weapon, but he's a much better player than he demonstrated tonight," said Ramsey, alluding to Bowler's 11 turnovers in the game.

Point guard Giordan Watson added 13 points, joining Barrett and Kellermann in double-figures scoring for CMU. All three Chippewa starters fouled out of the game.

Central Michigan will close out the regular season Saturday by hosting Toledo. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. at Rose Arena.

The MAC Tournament begins Monday night March 6 with first round games at campus sites. CMU will be the 12th seed and play at the No. 5 seed, either Northern Illinois, Western Michigan or Ohio, depending on the outcome of Saturday's games.

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