Watson Leads Chippewas Past EMU, 74-68

Giordan Watson tied a career-high with 30 points as Central Michigan University won its Mid-American Conference opener, 74-68, at Eastern Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

Central Michigan (6-7, 1-0 MAC) let an 11-point lead slip away midway through the second half but Giordan Watson halted the Eagle rally by scoring CMU's next eight points.

The Chippewas trailed by one, 59-58 with 3:33 left, before rattling off a 5-0 run to build some momentum and gain the lead for good.

"We were fortunate to get our first MAC win and do it on the road," CMU head coach Ernie Zeigler said. "We battled today. Giordan Watson, Jordan Bitzer and Eddie Spencer all stepped up and battled all game long. We didn't fold up the tent when we lost the lead and we did a lot of things well late, especially on defense."

The Chippewas shot 49 percent and committed a season-low 13 turnovers while EMU shot 45 percent with 19 miscues. Eastern (5-9, 0-1 MAC) made 11 three-point attempts while shooting 52 percent from the arc while the Chippewas struggled from long range for the second straight game with five treys at a .238 clip.

Chris Kellermann added 10 points and Sefton Barrett nine off the bench. Bitzer played an unsung role with six points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals in 35 minutes.

The Eagles were led by Jesse Bunkley and Carlos Medlock who scored 15 points apiece.

CMU returns home to host Toledo on Tuesday, Jan. 9. Tipoff in Rose Arena is set for 7 p.m.

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