Orlando, Fla. — Before playing at Northwestern on Wednesday night, Central Michigan had done a lot to make people forget last season's 10-21 record. One thing the Chippewas hadn't done was win on the road.
They have now.
Braylon Rayson scored 19 points, and Central Michigan beat Northwestern 80-67. Luke Meyer had 18 and Rayshawn Simmons added 13 for the Chippewas (7-1), who have won two in a row after suffering their lone loss of the season Dec. 2 at Bradley.
Central Michigan, which was playing on the road for only the second time this season, won its first game in 11 days and led by as many as 19. They also defeated a Big Ten team for the first time since winning 78-67 on Dec. 15, 2007 at Michigan.
Beyond that, Wednesday's win also showed that the Chippewas' strong start might be built on more than wins at home.
"People talk about our good start but it was always followed with a but. 'But, you've played this team or that team' or 'But, you've just been at home,'" Chippewas coach Keno Davis said. "We knew what we were as a program and as a team, that we were much improved. It was nice to not come here and win but to be able to perform, which was what really my focus was.
Northwestern coach Chris Collins didn't have a team that performed.
The Wildcats (6-4) were coming off an emphatic 101-49 win Sunday over Mississippi Valley State, but they looked more like the team that had lost its previous three games. They were outrebounded 31-26 and were 26 of 62 from the field.
Bryant McIntosh and Alex Olah each scored 12 for Northwestern, which allowed its season-high in points.
"Our effort wasn't up to standard tonight," Collins said. "Something that is not acceptable is not fighting."
That was apparent early and Central Michigan took advantage, setting the tone for the game.
The Chippewas dominated the first half, leading 36-29, shooting 52 percent and outrebounding Northwestern 19-12. A Rayshawn Simmons 3-pointer with 3:56 remaining in the first gave Central Michigan a 29-17 lead, compelling Collins to call a timeout.
The Wildcats, meanwhile, struggled during the opening 20 minutes but cut the deficit to seven at the buzzer thanks to an Olah 3-pointer. Unlike their win over MVSU when they led 47-26 at the break thanks to hitting 18 of 30 shots, the Wildcats were just 11 of 30 prior to halftime.
"Our coaches are always telling us to make the first punch. We have to make the first punch," Rayson said. "We can't keep coming out here every time and getting hit first. We had to come out here and hit first, and that's what we did."
As usual, the Chippewas' strongest punch was their offense. Entering play Wednesday they were averaging 82.6 points per game and hitting 47.9 percent of their shots, and that strong offense continued against the Wildcats. They hit 58.3 percent of their shots — including 10 of 18 from behind the 3-point line.
Northwestern had no answers, only getting as close as three early in the second half. And when Sanjay Lumpkin was asked to rate the Wildcats' effort, it was clear he wasn't satisfied.
"I don't want to do that," Lumpkin said.
More state men
(At) Central Florida 75, Detroit 70: Juwan Howard Jr. scored 25, but it wasn't enough for Detroit.
Adonys Henriquez scored 21 to lead Central Florida (6-4) and B.J. Taylor had 18.
Paris Bass scored 11 for Detroit (6-5), which trailed 68-58 with 2 minutes, 14 seconds remaining but used a 7-0 run to pull within three.
Big Ten men
(At) No. 12 Ohio State 97, North Carolina A&T 55: D'Angelo Russell scored 21 and Marc Loving had 15 to lead Ohio State.
Shannon Scott added 12 assists and Kam Williams had 15 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (9-1) in a game played before an announced crowd of 14,585 at Nationwide Arena.
Ohio State shot 69 percent in the second half to finish at 57 percent (35-for-62) overall.
Bruce Beckford had 26 points and Arturs Bremers 14 for the Aggies (1-11), who have lost 11 in a row — the last 10 on the road.
(At) Illinois 73, Hampton 55: Kendrick Nunn scored 16 for the Illini (8-3).
Illinois jumped out to a 27-11 lead early in the first half, but Hampton (4-6) made a run behind leading scorer Quinton Chievous. The senior scored eight consecutive points on a 10-0 Hampton run.
Deron Powers and Dwight Meikle led Hampton with 12 points apiece.
Rayvonte Rice added 12 points and five rebounds for Illinois.
Top 25 men
(At) Cincinnati 71, No. 19 San Diego State 62 (OT): Farad Cobb hit a 3-pointer that put Cincinnati in control in overtime, and the Bearcats pulled away after letting a late lead slip away in regulation.
The Bearcats (7-2) were coming off a 56-55 double-overtime loss at Nebraska on Saturday night that underscored their season-long struggle to hit shots. Cobb made the one in overtime that made the difference and finished with 12 points.
Winston Shepard had a game-high 17 points for San Diego State (7-3), including a pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds left that tied it 57-all and sent it overtime.
Top 25 women
(At) Chattanooga 54, No. 7 Stanford 46: Stanford (6-3) shot 27.7 percent in its first regular-season nonconference loss to an unranked opponent in 14 seasons.
The stunning result came just three weeks after Chattanooga (7-3) pulled off a 67-63 stunner over No. 11 Tennessee.
Oakland 61, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 54: Olivia Nash had 27 points and nine rebounds to lead the Golden Grizzlies.
Elena Popkey added 10 for Oakland (5-4).
Shay Weaver paced Corpus Christi (2-7) with 15 points.
Dayton dismissed junior Devon Scott — the Flyers' top rebounder — and junior reserve Jalen Robinson from the team for breaking a rule about player conduct. The 6-foot-9 Scott started nine games and averaged 9.1 points and a team-leading 7.4 rebounds. Robinson, who also is 6-foot-9, averaged 3.2 points and 2.4 rebounds in nine games for the Flyers (7-2).
... Texas gave sophomore guard Damarcus Croaker an unconditional release from his scholarship.