Previous Evening MAC Review, On The Lemmings Scale

Remember Lemmings? That cute little puzzle game where all the characters would walk off the cliff unless instructed to go elsewhere? If you don't, the game had four degrees of difficulty for each level: Fun, Tricky, Taxing, and Mayhem. I can't think of four better classifications to pigeonhole yesterday's MACsketball and bowl-ness.

MAYHEM

St. Bonaventure 112, OHIO 107, 4 OT — There is no other candidate. Put all the sporting events into the same competitive cloud, and this one is always gonna rise up and shine as the Game of the Day. D.J. Cooper did all he could to singlehandedly win the game, and he had game-tying baskets at the end of regulation and Overtime #1. Coop's final line: 43 points, 13 assists, eight steals, and eight rebounds. It's the rare quad-octo! OHIO's next game: Wednesday, 12/22 vs. Temple

Akron 77, Bethune-Cookman 66 — Well, it wasn't fun at all for the first 23:19, but fortunately for the Zips basketball games aren't 23 minutes and 19 seconds. The Wildcats had a 14-point lead in the second half that was reinforced with cardboard and melted peanut butter cups, and any kangaroo can bust down that door. The capper on their comeback were three 3-pointers in the final two minutes to tie the game, and then they just went nuts in the overtime frame. Oddly enough, Akron never led in regulation and never trailed in OT. Nikola Cvetinovic gave 'em hell with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists. Akron's next game: Tuesday, 12/21 vs. Arkansas-Little Rock in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic

FUN

Humanitarian Bowl: Northern Illinois 40, Fresno State 17 — No coach? No MAC championship? No probs. The Huskies returned to a pre-Miami disposition and just stormed over the WAC's fourth best team to a tune of 500 yards and a couple scores each via Chandler Harnish and Chad Spann on the ground. You can thank Michael Cklamovski for a couple long field goals (45 and 51) and the MAC won its first game on Boise's blue field since Central Michigan topped Boise State 42-21 in 1996. The feel-good story, at the end of the day, was interim coach Tom Matukewicz, who'll go down in the books as 1-0 as a head coach before Dave Doeren enters for the 2011 season. But, yes, the team's getting double Chick-fil-A. Maybe they can reconsider the position. Northern Illinois's next game: September 3, 2011 vs. Army

Toledo 75, Florida Gulf Coast 63 — FGCU, still one of the most awkward acronyms in sports, rolled into Savage Arena and, thanks to hitting six of their first seven three-pointers, put a 16-0 run in the first half and led by seven. And then the Rockets did basically the same thing they did against Valparaiso and played balls out in the second half. It's someone different every night for this team, and this time Home Improvement star J.T. Thomas had 16 points, while Reese Holliday gave them a double-double (11/13). The team only commited 10 fouls all game. So after that 0-9 start, the Rockets now have won two in a row. Toledo's next game: Tuesday, 12/21 vs. Indiana-Northwest (NAIA)

Buffalo 79, Houghton 47 — Population of Houghton, NY: 1,748. Classification of Houghton College basketball: NAIA D-II. Tallest player on the roster: 6'6". Chance they had in this game: zilch. Well, they did have an early 11-6 lead, but that quickly dissipated. But UB added this game to the schedule earlier this month, and it was free to everybody. With such a game, let's just gloss right over the stats. Buffalo's next game: Thursday, 12/30 vs. BYU

TRICKY

Temple 84, Northern Illinois 74 — After 23 free throw attempts against UIC (a win that, hey, looks pretty neat right about now), NIU's main man Xavier Silas didn't get his first FTA until well into the second half. But he did go 4-of-4 from the line and finished with 27 points. They couldn't really ever climb back into the game, but at least, unlike other MAC opponents, they at least made their half-brother break a sweat. Northern Illinois' next game: Wednesday, 12/22 at Southern Illinois

Western Michigan 77, South Dakota State 74 —Solid, if unnerving, victory against a Summit League opponent who beat Iowa by double-digits last month. I'm a little miffed at how ferocious a jackrabbit is, and why one would make it a mascot, but this is a conversation perhaps beyond my perception. WMU led by as many as 19 in the second half before SDSU stormed back to take a 7-point lead late in the game, but Demetrius Ward helped bounce back with a career-best 19 points. Meanwhile, Flenard Whitfield (Flenard means "One Less Than Demetrius") scored 18. It's been a rough schedule for the Broncos so far, but this win can stand as their most impressive feather in their cap. People still do this, right? Western Michigan's next game: Tuesday, 12/21 vs. Troy at the World Vision Basketball Invitational in Logan, Utah

Milwaukee 72, Bowling Green 69 — Ultimately disappointing, and here's why. BG was overmatched in this game, and yet they took a narrow halftime game and turned it into a 11-point lead halfway through the second. It seemed as if they were just trying to wear down nine minutes of clock, and UWM recognized the fear in this 2-8, then used it to their advantage. At least A'uston Calhoun had a fun night with a career-best 26 points and eight rebounds. Scott Thomas returned to action with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists. Bowling Green's next game: Wednesday, 12/22 vs. Manhattan

TAXING

New Orleans Bowl: Troy 48, OHIO 21 — Not really the best day for OHIO, was it? One game is lost by four overtimes; another by four touchdowns. The partial Sun Belt champions demoralized the Bobcats by halftime, scoring 31 unanswered points to lead 38-7 at halftime. A couple confidence touchdowns posted in the second half turned the game from a laugher into a simply bad performance, but Boo Jackson finishes his career with an oddly heartwarming line: 14-of-21, 209 yards, three touchdowns, one interception. If only their defense hadn't allowed 600+ yards. OHIO finishes 8-5 on the year, and while I'm sure the Bobcats are happy that Frank Solich is coaching them into bowls ... man, wouldn't it be nice to win one of these? (OHIO is now 0-5 all-time in bowls.) OHIO's next game: September 3, 2011 at New Mexico State

Detroit 75, Central Michigan 49 — Probably not the nationally televised game the Chips had in mind to show off their shiny McGuirk Arena. The game was close for about 14 minutes, and then the Titans took off and refused to be stopped by mere maroon humans. Trey Zeigler led the way with 21 points for CMU, and Andre Coimbra had an odd night: 10 points, eight boards, five blocks, but he also fouled out. As a team, shooting 27 percent isn't gonna help much, and missed free throws only acted as a second shovel. But hey! The women beat up on Ole Miss earlier in the day! Central Michigan's next game: Monday, 12/20 vs. South Dakota State

Wright State 66, Miami 51 — If it's okay, I'm just gonna have Charlie Coles recap all the games. His summation of this 15-point loss? "That was a clear-cut Wright State knockout early second round." All Julian Mavunga could do was net 17 points, but the Raiders took a lead early and held it throughout the game. The 5-6 record speaks for itself, but Miami just does this sometimes — it's almost as if they take games off. I know they're trying every night, but occasionally it seems like they shrivel up in big games, and then they surprise you with a big win. (See: Xavier.) Miami's next game: Tuesday, 12/21 vs. Cincinnati

No games today. Monday's schedule:

5 p.m. — Valparaiso at Eastern Michigan
7 p.m. — South Dakota State at Central Michigan

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