Central Michigan ends regular season with OT win
Central Michigan University sent its four seniors out in style Saturday afternoon with a 94-89 overtime Mid-American Conference men's basketball win over Ball State University.
The thrilling victory ended a three-game losing skid for CMU and upped its record to 6-23 for the season, 2-16 in MAC play. Ball State falls to 13-14 overall and 10-8 in league play.
One of CMU's seniors played a major role in the win as Niles High School graduate Gerrit Brigitha posted his fourth double-double of the season with game highs for points (29) and rebounds (11). The other seniors also contributed: T.J. Meerman two points, four rebounds and four assists; Adam Dentlinger, five points, four rebounds and an assist; and Dan Quinn, three points, three rebounds and one assist.
Back-to-back threes in overtime by Kevin Nelson and David Hoskins vaulted the Chippewas to the win. The game was tied at 86-86 when the two connected from long range for a 92-86 lead with 1:25 remaining.
Hoskins capped the CMU scoring with a pair of free throws with 25 seconds left to put the Chippewas ahead, 94-86.
CMU led by a 44-39 margin after one half but BSU tied it at 83-83 at the end of regulation.
In the second half, the Chippewas led by as many as eight points at 49-41 with 18:32 to play. However, the Cardinals took control and went ahead by as many as seven at 70-63 with 8:44 to play.
While CMU never regained the lead until overtime, it did knot the contest at 83-83 with 1:18 to go on a layup by Brigitha.
CMU had a chance to win it in regulation with the final possession. Following a BSU miss, the Chippewas called a timeout with 14 seconds left. CMU got the ball to Nelson who bobbled it for a second and then shot a fadeaway that missed but Brigitha had a tip in opportunity that was a little too hard.
The Chippewas shot 47.9 percent from the field on 34-of-71 compared to Ball State's 31-of-62 for 50 percent. CMU did hold a slim edge in rebounding, 41-37, and had one less turnover, 19-18.
The seniors had plenty of support from sophomore Nelson with a career-high matching 27 points and freshman David Hoskins with 15.
Dennis Trammell was one of four Cardinals in twin figures, pouring in 23. He was backed by Peyton Stovall with 17, Cameron Echols 14, Terrance Chapman 13 and Robert Owen 10.
CMU did dish out 20 assists, a game-high seven by Hoskins, while BSU notched nine.
Brigitha earns league honor
Brigitha, a graduate of Niles High School, has been named Mid-American Conference West Division Player of the Week following the final week of the regular season.
In three games last week, the Niles native averaged 23.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 69 percent from the line.
He tallied 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds at Northern Illinois on Monday, 25 points and five rebounds against Toledo on Wednesday, and 29 points and 11 boards versus Ball State on Saturday.
It marks the second time Brigitha was honored this season. He was also tabbed on Jan. 12. Miami's Juby Johnson was the East Division selection.
Brigitha and the Chippewas travel to Toledo tonight for the first round of the MAC Tournament. Tipoff in Savage Hall is set for 7 p.m.