THE HEARTBREAKER IN OVERTIME: Kent State beat Western Michigan, which is about right. But WMU, coming off a 24-point home loss maybe their luck would turn on the road. And it almost did — but a 78-73 overtime loss was the final result. Justin Greene swatted away a potential game-winning layup by Matt Stainbrook at the end of regulation then KSU took off from there.
Greene finished with 19 points and Chris Evans dunked his way to 18 points. For WMU, Demetrius Ward had an outstanding 21 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Flenard Whitfield also double-doubled with 18 points and 11 boards. They also had to play this game without Mike Douglas, suspended for a violation of team rules.
KSU has now won six straight against WMU and hasn't lost to them at home in 16 seasons, a time spanning 11 tries.
THE OBVIOUS-FROM-THE-START: Northern Illinois fell to BGSU 65-40, as I think we all expected. But the score went almost a little too true to form. The Falcons began the game on a 10-0 run, NIU didn't get their first field goal until there was 12:16 left in the first half, and the halftime score was 41-19, capped by an alleyoop dunk. The moral victory is that the Huskies played the second half completely even, not gaining any more ground.
Excellent night for Scott Thomas, scoring 14 points on eight shots and grabbing nine rebounds. Jordon Crawford executed a couple of 'oops from the passing side, finishing with 15 points and six assists. Led by NIU were a pair of Norwegians, Aksel Bolin and Stian Berg, each having nine points.
THE BLOWN LEAD AT HOME: Buffalo won at Toledo 72-65, and the Rockets can take two positives away from this: they helped raise money for cancer by the entire coaching staff wearing bow ties; they also held a comfy nine-point lead at halftime and ticking that up to 13 in the second half. But Javon McCrea and Titus Robinson each netted 12 points in the second frame after being held to a combined zero points, gradually grinding that lead into powder then running away with the game in the final minutes. Jarod Oldham helped out with six points, six assists and nine rebounds.
Rian Pearson had another otherworldly line: 26 points and eight rebounds. That's now four straight games for Pearson with at least 22 points. But UT has still lost three straight.
UB has won five straight against the Rockets.
THE DEFENSIVE TEAM WHO CAN'T DEFEND: Akron ran away from Eastern Michigan 77-47 and did something nobody else has been able to do that the likes of Syracuse, Michigan State and Purdue couldn't: score more than 32 on EMU in the first half. They got it to 39 points, matter of fact, before the Eagles knew what hit them in the locker room. So being down 39-16 made it mighty tough in any sense to make it any closer. And they couldn't.
And everybody helped for the Zips. Four scored in double figures, Chauncey Gilliam leading with just 13 points. Zeke Marshall had 11 points, five rebounds and four blocks. EMU had the game-high scorer. No, not him. It was Matt Balkema (yeah!) with 15 points. Darrell Lampley only had eight.
THE INEXPLICABLE HOME LOSS TO A WORSE TEAM: Ball State's fourth straight loss was a 59-53 decision to visiting Miami, the last-place team in the MAC East. If you believe BSU is the best the West has to offer, then this doesn't bode well for the tournament seeding. The score was close in the end — Julian Mavunga had to ice the game with free throws — but the game was much more lopsided throughout than this indicated. Brian Sullivan went 4-for-6 from three to go for 18 points, and Quinten Rollins added 14 points.
Tyrae Robinson helped BSU with a team-best 14 points and Aaron Adeoya had a solid eight points and 11 rebounds — eight of those offensive. But offense is what they coulda used more of.
(No highlights available)
THE CENTRAL MICHIGAN LOSS: Sometimes there is no other category other than a Central Michigan Loss. I haven't fully defined this one yet, but please be aware of its existence. They went to OHIO and lost 68-42 in a game the Bobcats used as another notch on their belt in pursuit of a MAC East championship.
Walter Offutt provided the scoring with 17 points and Nick Kellogg knocked down four 3-pointers en route to 14 points. Olivier Mbaigoto shot his way to 14 points and nine rebounds in the loss, their seventh in a row.
Fun note via CBS Sports, whose mental MACuity is adversely strong: the East is now 21-3 against the West and has won all 12 games played in the crossover period this week.