Chippewas Pull Out Narrow Home Win

Dec. 8, 2007

Box Score

Mount Pleasant, MI - Nate Minnoy scored 19 points and Giordan Watson added 18 Saturday night to lead Central Michigan to a 79-76 non-conference men's basketball victory over Cal State Fullerton.

The Chippewas won their third in a row to improve to 3-5 while the Titans fell to 4-2 despite 21 points and 11 rebounds from Scott Cutley and 16 point off the bench from Junior Russell.

Central Michigan made only 22 of 42 free throws and missed its final seven in a row to give the Titans four chances to tie. Russell missed a short jumper after Jeremy Allen missed the second of two tries after his make had made it 79-76 with 33 seconds to play .Marcus Van missed a pair at 0:26 but Marcus Crenshaw missed a 3-pointer. Reynold Walters missed a pair at 0:12 but Josh Akognon threw the ball away after getting the rebound. Allen then missed a pair with 6.5 seconds left and Akognon's hurried 3-pointer bounced off the rim. Cutley rebounded but time expired before he could get out to the 3-point line.

"We made just too many costly mistakes, especially at the end," said Fullerton Head Coach Bob Burton. "Hopefully, we won't make the same ones in the future.

"This game was a case of two teams playing pressure defense. I don't remember a game with that many free throws, but they kept giving us a chance by missing so many."

Fullerton made 22 of 32 free throws in the contest which featured 54 fouls, 31 on the visitors, and 44 turnovers, 24 by Fullerton. Four Titans finished with four fouls and Andrew Green and Marcus Morgan fouled out. CMU lost only starting center Marko Spica to five personals.

The first half ended in a 41-41 tie when CMU scored the last 8 points. There had been 4 lead changes and 3 ties with CMU's biggest lead at 21-12 and the Titans' largest at 41-33.

Fullerton's biggest lead of the second half was 4 points, the last time at 49-45 with 15:33 to play after two Akognon free throws. CMU took the lead for good at 64-63 on two Watson free throws at 6:32 after the tenth tie at 63 all. The Chippewas' biggest second-half lead was 71-65 wtih 3:49 to go and Fullerton never got closer than 2 points.

Akognon, second in the nation with more than 5 3-point field goals made per game, made only 1 of 8 tries and that came in the second minute as Fullerton jumped out early, 7-2.

Crenshaw, playing before a large contingent of fans from his native Detroit, made only 1 of 5 treys and finished with 3 points. Russell, who had scored only 13 points in the first five games combined, had 8 points in the first half and 7 in the second but also committed 7 turnovers. The Titans outrebounded the taller Chippewas, 31-23.

Watson missed about 8 minutes of the second half after getting a finger in the eye but Minnoy, a 6-3, 260-pounder, picked up the slack and made 7 of 11 shots after intermission.

CMU shot 52 percent from the floor to 44 percent by Fullerton. Both teams take next week off for final exams. Fullerton then has a 3-game homestand against Southern Utah on Dec. 17, Montana on Dec. 20 and Wright State on Dec. 22. The Titans have not played a home game since a win over Cal State L.A. on Nov. 11.