Notes from a parity-forming MAC night:
OHIO 87, KENT STATE 65 — I look at this box score and think to myself: Gosh, wouldn't it be tits if the entire MAC went 8-8 to finish the season? It's a longshot. One in a lottery-you-wont-win.
But I examine a game like this and understand that while OHIO and KSU are two-thirds of a cerberus atop the MAC East but these teams are having difficulty scraping together any sort of win. They're both sitting fat at 2-2 and in all likelihood they'll both have at least nine wins in the conference. You'd think.
At least for now OHIO gets out of the cellar and winning the rebounding battle was the big difference. OHIO had 16 offensive boards compared to Kent State's four and also forced 19 Flashes turnovers. That's a big above their average. The Bobcats had a big second-half run to outscore their opponents 46-27.
OHIO guard D.J. Cooper: 18 pts (6-of-12, 3-of-6 3PT), 5 reb, 5 stl, 2 ast
Kent State forward Chris Evans: 18 pts (8-of-11, 1-of-3 3PT), 3 rebs, 3 blk
OHIO guard Walter Offutt: 19 pts (5-of-11, 3-of-6 3PT)
OHIO guard Nick Kellogg: 15 pts (5-of-7 3PT)
Kent State guard Michael Porrini: 14 pts (5-of-9, 2-of-4 3PT), 5 sat
BALL STATE 73, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 52 — That loss to CMU seems to have infiltrated the team's central nervous system. I had thought the Chips had an outside chance to make a strong push in a weak conference, but the team that lost to NIU got bushwhacked by the team that lost to EMU.
Trey Zeigler had an awful night, but it wasn't just him; the entire team shot 13-of-33 on TWO POINT SHOTS. Ball State also outrebounded them 37-23, didn't miss much and stowed the game away by halftime. They also did much of this without Jarrod Jones, who only accounted for four points and five shots.
Ball State guard Tyrae Robinson: 20 pts (8-of-10, 2-of-3 3PT), 4 asts
Ball State guard Randy Davis: 7 pts (1-of-6, 1-of-5 3PT), 10 asts, 7 rebs
CMU guard Austin McBroom: 16 points (5-of-9, 3-of-6 3PT), 2 asts
Ball State forward Tyler Koch: 17 pts (7-of-10, 3-of-5 3PT), 7 rebs
BUFFALO 82, AKRON 70 — And the last unbeaten team in MAC play goes down hard. They all do, at some point, sometimes in Buffalo. From the looks of it this was the most well-played game of the bunch. UA wasn't too bad offensively but unfortunately Buffalo was the same way.
Buffalo guard Jarod Oldham: 11 pts (3-of-5, 1-of-1 3PT), 9 asts, 7 rebs, 3 stls
Akron forward Nikola Cvetinovic: 17 pts (6-of-9, 1-of-2 3PT), 8 rebs
Buffalo forward Javon McCrea: 15 pts (6-of-12), 7 rebs, 2 asts, 2 stls
Akron guard Alex Abreu: 9 pts (4-of-8), 8 asts, 3 rebs, 3 stls
Buffalo guard Zach Filzen: 21 pts (5-of-12 3PT), 3 rebs
Buffalo forward Mitchell Watt: 11 pts (3-of-7, 2-of-3 3PT), 4 rebs, 3 asts, 5 blokes
EASTERN MICHIGAN 62, WESTERN MICHIGAN 59 (OT) — What in the bloody heck is going on over in the MAC West? Don't make us come over there and start flogging some malcontents. EMU is now 3-1, which is not only tied for first with Ball state but also the entire MAC as a whole. And even though it took 45 minutes, the Eagles finally reached 60 points in a game for the first time in 10 tries. Yes. This team's in first.
BOWLING GREEN 65, MIAMI 57 — An under-the-radar game, because it sort of felt like the "current battle for fifth place in the MAC East." Still a desirable award! But credit goes to the Falcons for dispelling a decade-long curse and finally willing at Millett Hall for the first time since 2002.
Win the second half, win the game. BGSU outscored Miami 41-29 in the final 20 minutes and didn't have any eyesores in the box score.
BGSU guard Scott Thomas: 11 pts (5-of-8, 1-of-3 3PT), 11 rebs, 8 stls, 5 asts
BGSU guard Jordon Crawford: 25 pts (10-of-13, 1-of-2 3PT), 4 asts, 3 rebs
Miami forward Julian Mavunga: 17 pts (5-of-12), 7 asts, 4 rebs
[Highlights not available]
TOLEDO 71, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 41 — It was billed as a game somebody had to win, but it looks like UT shot and defended well enough to beat anybody in the MAC. Perhaps. The Rockets are finally on the board in the conference win column this year as NIU fails to attain a winning streak.
Toledo guard Curtis Dennis: 18 pts (6-of-10, 3-of-6 3PT), 5 rebs, 2 asts
Toledo forward Matt Smith: 9 pts (4-of-5), 6 rebs
Toledo guard Reese Holliday: 11 pts (4-of-6, 3-of-4 3PT), 5 rebs