Notes from a wild day in men's and women's basketball, who went 7-2 on the day.
OHIO 82, Wright State 54 — Don't you just get the feeling this team, despite its strong start, is just getting stronger? Wright is not the pesky force it once was but this was a rather decisive rout. D.J Cooper was remarkably efficient, going for 20 points on just nine shots, tacking on nine rebounds and five assists. Ivo Baltic showed up out of nowhere — mostly in the paint — and added 15 points. The Bobcats shot a simply goofy 70.2 eFG%, including 21-for-26 on two-pointers. What in the world.
WMU 85, Duquesne 71 — It's not how you start, but how you blah blah blah. Nobody's going to look at their nonconference schedule and say they can't win the MAC West especially given who they played. But a sound victory over Duquesne, who has beaten teams like Penn State and Akron, give the Broncos even more of a boost heading into January. WMU made their free throws (21-for-23), led by Nate Hutcheson who went a perfect 8-for-8 en route to a 24-point night. Junior guard Brandon Pokley, whose previous career high was 6 points, went off for 16 points in his 47th appearance for the brown and gold aided by 4-for-5 on three-pointers.
Most curious about this performance was they did it all without Flenard Whitfield and just five minutes of Matt Stainbrook, who didn't appear to be injured. David Brown also left the game with an injury. Hence the new names leading the charge.
Miami 66, Belmont 61 — Insanely wonderful victory by the RedHawks, as this is the same Belmont team who practically upset Duke and is a favorite to win the Atlantic Sun. And Julian Mavunga didn't have to do it alone, although his 17 points and 10 boards helped. Sophomores Jon Harris and Josh Sewell each drained 12 points apiece while (surprise) free throws may have been the difference yet again — this time the quantity thereof.
Akron 91, Florida A&M 69 — Did they play their band or something? UA cruised to a victory, yanking their starters when it was safe to do so. As a result, little-used Adedeji Ibitayo got in enough to finish with 11 points. Nikola Cvetinovic showed up with a double-double as well: 12 and 10.
Toledo 86, Youngstown State 77 — I'll have more on this game later from a personal perspective (as it was the first one I attended on the year) but Toledo's young team again showed they can shoot anywhere on the floor, from the paint to the arc to the line. Dominique Buckley kept attacking and finished with 21 points. Juice Brown gave seven assists with his 15 points and Reese Holliday was an interior designer thanks to eight points and 14 rebounds.
The last time Toledo had this many points in a game at Savage Arena was … well, technically never, but they did muster 86 points against EMU on January 26, 2006 when it was known as Savage Hall.
Michigan State 74, BGSU 60 — I DVRed this game for some reason. Possibly I'm a latent masochist. They did hang around in the second half until Michigan State finally wised up and put together enough of a run to make the threat nonexistent. Weirdly enough Jehvon Clarke ended up the high scorer for the Falcons with 14 points.
Southern Illinois 62, NIU 49 — Beyond this game and the BG loss to State, the MAC was perfect in football/basketball. You'll have that, I guess. Aksel Bolin had a nice game with nine points and 12 rebounds while Abdel Nader led the Huskies with 14 points. For the fourth time this year NIU had more turnovers (22) than made field goals (14). Gross.
NIU 60, Indiana 59 — The Huskies hung tough, never trailed by many, and got their shot in the end. Down two, Courtney Shelton drilled a 3-pointer with nine seconds left on the clock to bring the Huskies into the lead for good. Shelton finished with 15 points, all thanks to a 5-for-7 night on threes. Amanda Corral also did yeoman's work with 15 points and 10 rebounds, playing all 40 minutes. It's the third loss by Indiana to a MAC team this year (Miami and Toledo).
Miami 74, Cincinnati 69 — Free throws are never an entirely sexy skill set, but in close games when one team shoots over twice as many as the other team, it's attractive enough for a win. Despite UC going 13-for-13 from the line, the RedHawks got to the stripe way more, going 28-for-31 on freebies and leaving the field goals to the professionals. Courtney Osborn had another big game with 23 points. Kirsten Olowinski had 19 points and 16 rebounds.
Today's men's game:
2:00 p.m. - CMU at Iowa State (ESPN Full Court/ESPN3)
Today's women's games:
12 noon — Southeast Missouri State vs. CMU in Dayton (Wright State Invitational)
1:00 p.m. — Valparaiso at Ball State
2:00 p.m. — Youngstown State at Akron
2:00 p.m. — Canisius at Kent State
2:05 p.m. — BGSU at Creighton
3:00 p.m. — Toledo at UW-Milwaukee
5:30 p.m. — OHIO vs. Oklahoma in Las Vegas (Duel in the Desert Tournament)
6:00 p.m. — WMU at Long Beach State (Beach Classic)