CLEVELAND -- Chris Fowler scored 26 points as top-seeded Central Michigan advanced to the championship of the Mid-American Conference Tournament with a 75-66 win over Toledo in the semifinals on Friday night.
The Chippewas (23-7), seeking their first title since center Chris Kaman led them in 2003, will play second-seeded Buffalo on Saturday night for a spot in the NCAA Tournament. Central Michigan won both games during the regular season, most recently 75-74 on Feb. 14.
John Simons added 23 for Central Michigan, which opened the second half with a 13-3 run, withstood several spurts by Toledo and moved into its first final in 12 years.
It's been a remarkable turnaround for the Chippewas, who were the No. 11 seed last season but have been revived under third-year coach Keno Davis -- the conference's coach of the year.
Down by 17, Toledo got within 53-46 midway through the second half, but Simons hit a 3-pointer and Fowler scored consecutive baskets to put the Chippewas back in control.