Matt Stainbrook is playing basketball in a scheme to be closer to his children. via @JayBilas/@SpugEddy
Notes from a silly MAC basketball day:
Duke 110, WMU 70 — The score itself makes all the sense in the world, and WMU's 18 first-half fouls were probably about right given the prevailing sentiment that Duke Gets All The Calls. But what I really foresaw happening at Cameron Indoor Stadium was the fans getting on Matt Stainbrook somehow. I didn't know how, or why, or in what capacity, but there was something about that uncoordinated 7-foot white guy that was going to resonate with the crowd.
As it turns out, ESPN's Jay Bilas was the one to make the great comparison between Stainbrook and Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. He can hip-hop, bebop, rebound till ya drop, and yo yo make a wicked cup of cocoa.
He also tried to dunk the ball and missed so badly he was called for offensive goaltending.
So it was a forgettable game for WMU — one that I'm sure they'd like back after probably seven games into their OOC schedule. I think we all knew it was going to be ugly. But not only did they lose by 40 points, have FIVE players get three fouls before halftime, and essentially get embarrassed on national TV, but the Broncos lost two people to injury: Mike Douglas dislocated his shoulder (apparently for the second time this week?) and Nate Hutcheson separated his shoulder. Yikes.
Astonishingly, only Muhammed Conteh fouled out of this game and it took all of seven minutes to accomplish this. Stainbrook ended up having a decent game, finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds. Demetrius Ward added 16 points and freshman Hayden Hoerdemann saw his minutes skyrocket thanks to garbage time and finished with a career-best 12 points. And weirdly, WMU had fewer turnovers but were overwhelmed in every other fashion.
WMU finishes the OOC at 5-8 and will lick their wounds. They can still win the MAC West, oddly enough, but they sure as heck aren't favorites.
OHIO 71, Kennesaw State 63 — And this was a close one. Everything they worked so hard on in the OOC almost came crashing down in a tack-on late December match. The Owls played 'em well, no doubt about it, thanks to some killer guard play. A one-point Bobcats halftime lead was just too uncomfortable, as was much of the second half, but OU's guards were just better enough. Walter Offutt led with 17 points, Ivo Baltic added 15 points and nine rebounds, D.J. Cooper did his thing with 14 points and seven assists and Nick Kellogg went 4-for-7 on threes to finish with 14.
One more nonconference game for the Bobcats remain: At home against Robert Morris.
Air Force 42, EMU 37 — Alamo Bowl joke goes here. Your classic defensive struggle remained that way because EMU's guards couldn't shoot but their bigs were able to rebound and block. Antonio Green and Jamell Harris both had nine points, which led the team. Green also got eight rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Harris had nine boards and three blocks. Eastern finishes the OOC at 5-9.
Akron 82, Chicago State 48 — I'm not sure why this Chicago State keeps coming back for more. They're now 1-14 but admittedly their one win was against the MAC. In five tries. Admittedly they are an affiliate MAC member in men's tennis, but that shouldn't account for anything, ought it? Anyways the game was basically done at half when UA had a 40-16 advantage. Carly Young (16/11) and Sina King (11/10) both finished with point/rebound double-doubles. Denver McLean also had a great game: 13 points, eight rebounds (six offensive) and three blocks.
UA finishes their nonconference at 6-8 and we'll see what they can do in the MAC East.
Seattle 75, EMU 72 — Really tough loss here but they might've been able to get a nice lead at halftime except Tavelyn James had to ride the bench for the last 10 minutes of the first half when she picked up her third foul. She only played 24 minutes, so in her place Natachia Watkins led the Eagles with 22 points, but she fouled out on a crucial play in the final minute. EMU had a 72-70 lead but Watkins hit the shooter on a 3-point attempt. All three freebies were made and EMU wasn't able to score from there on out. Olivia Fouty had 18 points and actually took the potential winning bucket with 16 seconds to play but couldn't get it to fall.
Eastern is just 7-5 on this season, and with the way Toledo's playing they don't appear to be the favorites anymore. They have one more OOC game: at home against Wyoming on Monday.
Bethune-Cookman 58, Kent State 49 — A young team and it shows. They were just a little worse in every way — notably 23 turnovers — and it all added up. Trisha Krewson was the game-high scorer with 16 points and before fouling out Diamon Blackford had 12 points and 13 rebounds. KSU falls to 1-9.
Iowa State 65, Buffalo 45 — It all fell apart in the second half as UB was only down three at the 20-minute mark. Brittany Hedderson led the Bulls with 12 points on 15 shots. She, too, fouled out. There's a theme across the conference.
American 77, WMU 52 — Rinse and repeat. Young team, other team's a bit better, blah blah blah. Maria Iaquaniello went for 15 points in the losing effort.
Today's men's games, the final of 2011:
2:00 p.m. — Chicago State at Ball State
Today's women's games:
1:00 p.m. — Marquette at Toledo (MAC Sports Livestream)
3:00 p.m. — BGSU at Colorado State
3:00 p.m. — NIU at #21 DePaul
4:00 p.m. — Marshall at Ball State
And if I don't make it back, the New Year's Day men's games, since there's no football on:
3:00 p.m. — BGSU at Texas-San Antonio
4:00 p.m. — Akron at Marshall