MOUNT PLEASANT - In a game that started with toilet paper littering the floor, the Central Michigan men’s basketball team saw their matchup with rival Western Michigan end with students racing out onto the court to celebrate a thrilling come-from-behind win.
Brian Taylor hit a game-winning three-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play to send the Chippewas to a 70-69 victory.
The Broncos had held the lead nearly the entire game, by as many as 13 points, led by Lamar Norman Jr., who paced WMU with 27 points. But, in the final minutes of the game, the Chippewas were able to turn up the pressure on defense, force a few turnovers, and make a couple of key baskets to set up Taylor’s heroics.
Jesse Zarzuela, who assisted on Taylor’s game-winner, led CMU with 25 points. Taylor scored 13, including the game’s first two points on an alley-oop dunk to start the game.
After Taylor’s shot went in, and Western’s last ditch attempt did not fall - students raced on the floor to celebrate the victory in front of a McGuirk Arena record crowd of 5,425 fans. The attendance record was set by drawing fans out for the “Toilet Paper Toss” game, harkening back to a tradition born in the 1980s when fans would throw rolls of toilet paper onto the court. Prior to tipoff on Saturday, CMU legend Dan Majerle returned to Mt. Pleasant to pass the ball to his son, freshman Max Majerle, who dunked the ball and set off a shower of toilet paper onto the floor.
“We executed when it mattered, and the guys got a much-deserved win. So, I’m happy for them that they’re able to celebrate and enjoy that. Especially with as amazing as the crowd was,” said CMU Head Coach Tony Barbee after the game. “If that means we’ve got to throw toilet paper every game, we are going to throw toilet paper every game. I will pay for the toilet paper supply out of our budget, if it brings that kind of crowd every night.”
Central Michigan (8-13, 3-5 Mid-American Conference) travels to Kent State for their next game on Tuesday night.