The games played today:
James Madison 60, Kent State 51 — After about 32 minutes, the Dukes were having none of this and they turned a close game into a 10-point affair. Outside of Justin Greene's double-double (14/12) and Rodriquez Sherman's 17 points, there wasn't much help coming from the thinned out Golden Flash ranks. Then again, JMU is rolling along and just picked up win No. 10. Not a terrible loss. Kent State's next game: Saturday, 1/8 at Akron
Ball State 80, North Carolina A&T 66 — The Tar Heel Phone Company had no answer for Ball State's inside game, as 38 of their points poured in from the paint. The Cards also outrebounded their MEAC foes 42-28, and Jarrod Jones went off for 25 points and nine boards. Also clocking in with some fat stats were Jesse Berry (15 points) and Chris Bond (10) off the bench. Now at 7-4 and perfect at home, it's nice to see at least one divisional favorite living up to the hype. Ball State's next game: Monday, 1/3 vs. SIU-Edwardsville
Western Michigan 69, Eastern Illinois 60 — But here's a challenger to the West throne. Juwan Howard, Jr. was puttin' up 22 points, 10 rebounds and also four assists in just 27 minutes of time on the court. Flenard Whitfield had a fairly decent 19 points and nine rebounds, while Mike Douglas contributed in several ways with 11 points, nine assists, and three steals. Pick your MVP from this game. I dare ya. Western Michigan's next game: Sunday, 1/9 vs. Central Michigan
Northern Illinois 86, Utah Valley 76 — To answer your lone question about this game, yes, Xavier Silas got back on track with 26 points and made 11 of 12 free throws. But Jeremy Landers helped: he got up to 17 points on the night, a season best. Isn't it easier to win when TWO guys have great days? Northern Illinois's next game: Monday, 1/3 at Iowa State
Samford 55, Eastern Michigan 51 — Oh, EMU almost had this one. They were in such a good position with stars aligning every which way for them. They owned an eight-point halftime lead on the road and even were up by six points with 2:10 to play. But the fun was promptly over; the Samford Bulldogs finished the game on a 12-2 run. Brandon Bowdry's 19 points and six rebounds were stung with six turnovers. Darrell Lampley might've been the difference in this being a close game and one where they struggle to score 40; Lamp had 12 points, seven assists, four steals, and five rebounds. Mighty fine. But those 21 EMU turnovers were converted into 23 points for the home team. Eastern Michigan's next game: Tuesday, 1/4 vs. Ferris State
A ... New Year's Day basketball game?
4 p.m. — Bowling Green at Saint Louis