Notes from the first full day back after the Christmas break, but it didn't go so smoothly:
Temple 87, Buffalo 85 (OT) — Ya had to think at some point the Owls would pull away. But then again UB has better forward (at least healthy ones) and that's why they stayed on pace with our MAC half-brothers well past regulation. It was on a last-second bucket that the Owls finally ended this tomfoolery with a win they should've had all along.
Buffalo is a bit hot-and-cold at any venue they play, but this was certainly one of their warmer showings. The twin towers of Javon McCrea and Mitchell Watt both had tremendous nights, each getting over 20 points. McCrea had 28 points while Watt ended with 22 points along with nine rebounds and three blocks. Dave Barnett even had a double-double (15 points/10 rebounds) and Jarod Oldham had a career-best 11 assists. A puzzling line for Zach Filzen: he played 36 minutes but attempted just three shots? (Yes, the one basket he made was a three.)
The Bulls might be that team that beats OHIO and loses to NIU, depending on the random sampling of their mood on a given night.
Cleveland State 72, Toledo 64 — With all the Military Bowl wackiness keeping us busy, little did we have time for a sneakily good game which had the Rockets up by six points at halftime against the Horizon League's best team. But turnovers cost them down the stretch as the CSU seniors salted away what turned out to be a very mellow victory for them. Curtis Dennis led all Rockets with 14 points.
Also, if you didn't hear, Ryan Majerle, Thunder Dan's nephew, is transferring. Odd time for this to happen, but he probably did this now so he'll only have to sit out two more semesters and pull a Curtis Dennis; rejoin someone after the fall 2012 semester.
Duquesne 86, BGSU 76 — The only goodness for the Falcons was this: they had an 11-point lead in the first half and Scott Thomas reaching the 1,000-point mark in his career. Thomas had 20 points (thanks to 4-of-9 shooting) but A'uston Calhoun led BG with 24 points and eight rebounds. Duquesne is a solid team but with the loss the Falcons fall back to 6-6.
Miami 74, Chicago State 60 — As you may recall, Chicago State's lone win of the year was against WMU. But the MAC was not going to drop another one against one of the weakest D-I women's teams. Maggie Boyer led the RedHawks with 22 points.
Providence 78, Akron 65 — Despite being undermanned (undermanned?) Akron was able to weather the depth of a Big East team and keep the thing tied at half. But in the final minutes the Lady Friars were able to strut to a victory. Sina King led UA with 19 points and eight rebounds.
It'll be tougher going for the Zips this year as they lost Rachel Tecca for the season with a torn ACL. The junior forward led the team in points, steals and rebounds.
Hampton 77, CMU 51 — Looks like we found out what could stop the Chippewas' momentum: either Christmas or trips to Louisiana. Curse you, Saint Nick! Playing in the Tulane Double Tree Holiday Tournament, CMU will now have to scrounge for a fifth-place finish at best.
It doesn't look like CMU was able to play their type of pace at all, being pressured into 28 turnovers. But that's how Hampton has been able to get to a 9-2 record and betting the likes of Pittsburgh by (23 points!) and Boston College. Jessica Green led Central with 17 points.
Today's mens games:
7:00 p.m. — VCU at Akron
7:00 p.m. — William & Mary at Miami
8:35 p.m. — Kent State at Arkansas State
11:15 p.m. — EMU at Santa Clara (Cable Car Classic)
Today's womens games:
2:00 p.m. — EMU vs. Saint Louis in Seattle (Washington Dental Service Holiday Hoops Tournament)
6:00 p.m. — NJIT vs. Buffalo in Ames, Iowa (Cyclone Challenge)
7:00 p.m. — George Mason at OHIO
8:00 p.m. — NIU at Eastern Illinois