"We've made a commitment to play a lot faster than last year," said fifth-year head coach Ernie Zeigler. "We are working on making good decisions and keeping our turnovers down while we are at that tempo. As we get more comfortable, that will translate into an exciting offense for us."
The Chippewas wrapped up their first week of practice with two sessions on Sunday, the evening session being divided into two 20-minute and one 10-minute scrimmages.
"Obviously we have a ways to go but I thought we had a really good level of competitiveness tonight," said Zeigler. "We had a lot of guys play with consistency throughout the entire night. We need to get a lot better defensively with our rebounding and our rotations, and a lot better with our communication. But this is a good bridge for us as we lead into the remainder of the preseason."
Freshman guard Trey Zeigler and transfer center Andre Coimbra joined returners Jalin Thomas, William McClure and Amir Rashid as starters on the white team during the first 20 minutes, falling to the maroon team of Colin Voss, Nate VanArendonk, Antonio Weary, Finis Craddock and Paris Paramore, 31-28, behind Weary's 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting. The maroon held a large lead most of the way but the white closed within three with 35 seconds left. Zeigler missed a contested three-pointer at the buzzer that would have tied the game, but ended as the white team's leading scorer with 12 points.
Rotating teams for the second period, the white team, consisting of Thomas, McClure, Rashid, Weary and Zeigler, handily defeated the maroon team, comprised of Paramore, Craddock, Coimbra, Derek Jackson and VanArendonk, 48-19.
"There were a few newcomers who stood out tonight," said Zeigler. "Trey was very solid, Colin gave us some really good minutes, Derek had his moments and Nate was tough."
VanArendonk left the gym during the second period with a bloody nose but returned several minutes later and was immediately inserted back into the lineup.
"Nate came right back and contributed. That was a huge sign that we are going to be ready to battle through some adversities," Zeigler said.
Stats Leaders (combined stats for all three periods):
Scoring: Zeigler (35), Rashid (25), Weary (19), Craddock (12), Thomas (12)
Field Goal Percentage: Weary (7-10, .700), Zeigler (12-21, .571), Rashid (9-18, .500)
Rebounding: Thomas (12), McClure (9), VanArendonk (8), Zeigler (6), Voss (6), Harden (6)
Steals: Rashid (4), Weary (2), Zeigler (2), Jackson (2)
Assists: Rashid (5), Weary (5), Zeigler (5), Craddock (3), McClure (3), Paramore (3), VanArendonk (3)
"Through the first week of practice I have really been pleased with the leadership of our seniors," Zeigler said. "We are beginning to adapt to playing a different style of basketball offensively. The overall effort from our group as a whole has been great and now we need to maintain that effort day-in and day-out as we prepare for the exhibition game."
Central Michigan will face Marygrove on Wednesday, November 3 at Mount Pleasant High School in the preseason's only exhibition game.