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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Rob McCutcheon
COLUMBIA, MO (Nov. 13, 2007) –For the first time in school history, the Central Missouri Mules handed a Division I squad a loss as they knocked off Central Michigan 75-70 on Tuesday night in the O’Reilly Auto Parts/ CBE Classic.
Unfortunately for the Mules, the game was considered an exhibition, but the outing counted for the Chippewas, dropping them to 0-2 on the season after a loss to Mizzou the night before. Central Missouri joined several other Division II squads to knock off Division I foes in the preseason, including Grand Valley State over Michigan State, Findlay taking out Ohio State, Tarleton State beating Baylor, and Cal State San Bernardino over Weber State.
The Mules started the game with the same intensity on the defensive end from the night before against Fordham. They forced nine Central Michigan turnovers and held them to 32 percent from the field. The Chippewas used a 26-to-18 rebound advantage and held UCM to 34 percent shooting to keep the margin close at the break.
With CMU leading 15-10, the Mules went on a 9-0 run to capture the lead and extended that to as much as 27-20 with 2:08 remaining in the period. The Chippewas’ Chase Simon hit a three with two seconds left in the half to close the gap. He had 12 in the half. The Mules were led by Carvelle Taylor and Paul Banister with six apiece while Tremaine Luellen had five points in the first two minutes before sitting the remainder of the half due to early foul trouble.
The Chippewas came out charging in the second half as expected, but Central Missouri withstood the run, only allowing CMU to grab only a couple brief two-point leads before answering. Luellen layed one in with 13:22 remaining to give the lead back to the Mules, while Skip Thomas followed that with a dunk off a dish from Kevin Wollbrinck on the next possession. Central Michigan would not lead the rest of the night.
The Mules broke the final tie of the game at the 7:07 mark on another Luellen layup. They would stretch the margin to as much as eight with 4:02 remaining but the Chippewas had another run in them, thanks to the MAC Preseason Player of the Year in Giordan Watson. He drilled four three pointers (two that banked in off the glass) and had 14 points in the final 3:47 of the game. Wollbrinck was big down the stretch to counter that for the Mules though, grabbing big rebounds and forcing turnovers, including a steal from Watson with 1:08 left.
The Mules finished off the Chippewas by simply hitting their free throws to seal the win. Central Michigan was actually picked to win the MAC West Division by Sporting News and is ranked preseason No. 24 in the Mid-Major national poll by collegeinsider.com.
Central Missouri opens up its regular season this Saturday at home against Monmouth College at 2:00 p.m. in the Multipurpose Building.