MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (Dec. 7, 2004) - The East Tennessee State men's basketball team could not hold a first half lead and watched a second-half rally fall short as the Central Michigan Chippewas remained unbeaten at home with an 88-77 win Tuesday night in nonconference action at Rose Arena.
The win upped CMU's record to 4-2 for the season, 4-0 in the friendly confines of Rose Arena. The visiting Buccaneers fall to 2-5.
ETSU led by as many as eight in the first half, but a Central Michigan rally allowed the Chippewas to grab a 36-34 halftime lead. CMU then built a couple of big second half leads only to have ETSU battle back, however, the third time was the charm as CMU pulled away to its third big second-half advantage late in the game for the win.
CMU led by 10 at 51-41 only to have ETSU battle back to five at 51-46. CMU then went ahead 59-49 at 13:05 before the Buccaneers fought back to tie it at 62-62 with 9:27 to go. East Tennessee State never could take the lead in the final half although it did trail 76-73 with 3:52 to play.
In what is becoming a familiary story, the Bucs could not keep their rally sustained late, as the Chippewas went on a 12-4 run to ice the game.
Junior Kevin Nelson led the Chippewas with a game-high 21 points while freshman Giordan Watson chipped in with 19. Senior Steve Harris scored a career-high 13 points followed by senior Tony Bowne and sophomore Eddie Spencer with a dozen apiece.
The 13 points for Spencer were a career high as were his game-high 10 rebounds.
ETSU had three players in double figures, with James Anthony (Tampa, Fla.) coming off the bench to lead the way with a season-high 19. Tim Smith (Newport News, Va.) added 15 and Ben Rhoda (Dayton, Ohio) netted 12.
The difference in the game was CMU's deadly three-point shooting. The Chippewas meshed 13-of-24 threes for 54.2 percent and finished the game with 32-of-67 from the field for 47.8 percent.
The Buccaneers hit 24-of-52 from the field for 46.2 percent.
CMU held a 40-30 edge in rebounding, 17 of the caroms coming on the offensive end.
Next up for the Chippewas is a road game at Minnesota on Saturday while ETSU hosts Tennessee Tech on Friday.