Notes from a mostly punch-free night in MAC basketball, men's and women's combined:
OHIO 56, WESTERN MICHIGAN 51 — The score says most of it, but missing from the Broncos side was big burly center Matt Stainbrook who didn't make the trip on what's being called a "coach's decision" and we know nothing more beyond that. Shayne Whittington is no Stainbrook, at least not yet (although nine points and 13 boards ain't bad). D.J. Cooper led scorers with 18 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jon Smith added six big offensive rebounds to go with six points, but with this slog of a game everyone did just enough to weather WMU's weak shooting night, led by freshman Austin Richie who danced on the ceiling for 16 points.
OHIO improves to 4-2; WMU is down to 3-3.
TOLEDO 63, MIAMI 61 — A couple of big streaks broken here. The big one is that it's UT's first road victory in the MAC since 2008 at Central Michigan, a streak of 27 games. It's also their first win in Millett Hall since 2000. Rise up, Chad Kamstra! Rian Pearson brought it for 23 points and 10 rebounds. Curtis Dennis added 17 points and four steals. Julian Mavunga scraped together 14 points and 11 rebounds in the loss.
Toledo's at 2-4; Miami's down to 1-5.
BOWLING GREEN 71, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 58 — No fight from the Chips in this game. Literally or figuratively. They did pretty much usurp control of the offensive glass (23 second chances) but no shooting to go with it. Also BG sank their free throws with ease: 18-of-21 on the night. A'uston Calhoun, Dee Brown, Jordon Crawford and Scott Thomas — the regulars — all went between 12 and 14 points, 13-of-14 on the freebies between them. Excellent day at the line. Trey Zeigler did give his Chips 17 points and 10 rebounds, so that's something.
BG moves creeps upward to 3-3. CMU falls back to 2-4.
KENT STATE 90, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 54 — Yep, that's about right. The Golden Flashes were up 49-24 at halftime and never looked back. The main scoring was attained by Kris Brewer (15), Justin Greene, Chris Evans and Randal Holt (14) and Carlton Guyton (11). This alone outdid the Huskies by 12 points. For NIU Keith Gray added 15 points; Abdel Nader is usually their "good game in a losing effort" man but he went 0-for-10 from the floor for zero points.
Kent State gets back to 3-3. NIU remains struggling at 1-5.
TOLEDO 79, MIAMI 66 — Big, big statement victory. Miami was hovering around as the No. 2 team in the conference, and after beginning the game on an 11-0 run it looked like that would be the case. Thing is, UT doesn't lose much at home. Once they got their act together they were only down one at halftime, then took the lead up as high as 20 points. Very strange flow on this game. Andola Dortch had a mighty 25 points (18 in the second half) and nine rebounds to help complete the nightly men's/women's sweep of the RedHawks. There were equally huge nights for the sharpshooting Haylie Linn (15 points, eight assists) and the strong Yolanda Richardson (12 points, eight rebounds, three blocks) to make this one not close. For MU, Maggie Boyer led with 20 points while Courtney Osborn finished with "only" 17 points, five steals and four assists.
But a big game-changer as UT goes to 5-2, now the record for Miami as well.
BOWLING GREEN 63, BALL STATE 52 — With the victory, BGSU now has a two-game cushion on first place. Same old story for a Falcons opponent: had trouble shooting, couldn't break 60 points. This time it was Jessica Slagle who led BG with 22 points, five steals and four assists. The entire Falcons team committed highway robbery with 19 team steals, actually. And Brittany Carter scored 11 points for Ball State in the loss.
BGSU remains perfect at 7-0 while Ball State flounders at 2-5.
EASTERN MICHIGAN 72, BUFFALO 54 — Not unexpected, even on the road, but the Eagles keep pace in the West thanks to a lofty night by Tavelyn James. She poured in 34 points on her own; Desyree Thomas did the grunt work with nine points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals. For UB, freshman Christa Baccas had a career night with 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks in the defeat. But the Bulls could not — nor could many — overcome 29 team turnovers.
EMU goes to 5-2, Buffalo sinks to 1-6.
KENT STATE 67, WESTERN MICHIGAN 61 — And this young KSU team just keeps piling up a sneaky amount of wins in conference play. Tamzin Barroilhet was magnifique with 22 points, a career best. Diamon Beckford added 19 points and seven rebounds. For WMU, Aurielle Anderson led the way with 13 points but the Golden Flashes took a close game and made it theirs in the final minutes.
Kent State's at 4-3, WMU's down to 2-5.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 67, OHIO 53 — Not as much scoring as is normally seen in a CMU game, but it was plenty good for them. Taylor Johnson scored 16, Crystal Bradford added 10 points and 11 rebounds and Jessica Green had a nice 15-point, 6-board, 6-assist game. Shavon Robinson did the best for the Bobcats with 14 points. Oh, and this happened.
CMU's at 4-3, OHIO descends to 2-5.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 72, AKRON 66 — Rounding out the night was the Huskies second straight road victory, which is a little comforting in a season they don't have much to gloat about right now. Claire Jakubicek unloaded for 18 points before fouling out, Amanda Corral shot for 17 points and Kim Davis notched 15 points. The whole team shot an admirable 26-for-30 from the line, and that's not something you overcome easily. For the Zips, Carly Young scored a career best 20 points in the loss.
NIU goes to 2-5, Akron dips to 3-4.