Hustle Belt MAC Men's Basketball Players of the Week: Week 14

We may as well start calling Da'Shonte Riley the rejector for how often he sends opponents away with nothing but a face full of blocked shot. - USA TODAY Sports

A familiar face with a knack for pulling out double-doubles and a 7-footer who's gotten incredibly good at saying no are our Player's of the Week for Week 14.

EAST: Demetrius Treadwell, Akron senior forward

LW: Javon McCrea, Buffalo senior forward

I really wanted to give this award to someone else. There were a few players in the East who haven't earned this honor yet, that had deserving weeks. Plus, Demetrius Treadwell has been given the honor this season more times than Akron fans have pleaded for a point guard, but what Treadwell did Saturday in the Zips' 62-54 win over NIU made it clear, giving it to anyone else this weekend would be a sham.

Before you go all "Wait, he beat the Huskies" on me, let me remind you that this isn't your older brother's Northern Illinois squad. This year's NIU team would blow last year's out the gym. I'm talking by like 40 points, a night. NIU has proven time and time again this year that what it lacks in star presence it makes up for in team cohesion, fundamental basketball and enough grit to fill up every hungry Southerner in a Georgia Waffle House. The man they called Tree was the only reason Akron didn't become NIU's latest victim.

On Wednesday he put up 16 and 12 in a narrow loss to now top MAC dog WMU. On Saturday he topped it, notching his 15th double-double on the year (fifth straight) with his 25 and 10, which just so happened to be the best offensive output of his impressive career. Treadwell refused to let the Huskies take the win, even with two of the Zips main pieces out of the game before it even started. Factor in a player who hardly sees the floor starting at point guard (and doing an awful job at it) and Treadwell's sidekick, Quincy Diggs, have an unusually poor night, it made for a rough go of it for Tree. Still, he found a way to power through, earning the praise of NIU's head coach, and another Hustle Belt POTW award in the process.

WEST: Da'Shonte Riley, Eastern Michigan senior center

LW: David Brown, Western Michigan senior guard

Normally, our player of the week awards go to guys who showed out offensivly. On the rare occasion that the award doesn't go to the top offensive performaer, it goes to a player who had an all-around outstadning effort. Afterall, we live in a numbers-focused world. We like to correlate success with easy to comprehend numbers, such as "points per game" or "rebounds" or "assists". If you're a stat-head, you may look beyond that, and of course we can all tell when a player outperformed the stat sheet, but for the most part we reward those who produce numbers.

So how does a player who managed just six points in 64 minutes of action last week earn our MAC West Player of the Week award? By having such an impact on the game in a strictly defensive measure that no one came close to having a better week than him. Da'Shonte Riley, EMU's 7-foot sultan of swat is that man. In two games this past week Riley, who averages just 4.7 points a game, fell far short of his average. Hell, he didn't score once against Ball State on Wednesday. His rebounding numbers weren't even spectacular (13 total in two games), but no player changed the course of the MAC title hunt more than he did this week with his 13 blocks. That's right, 13 of them.

Riley had six against the Cardinals in EMU's 73-62 win on Wednesday, but the real reason he's getting this honor is for his performance Saturday against then No. 1 Toledo. The Rockets had ran through the MAC (only two blemishes on their record) and had just avenged one of their only hiccups on a night they were without their leading scorer. Then they went to Ypsilanti.

The eagles dismantled Toledo, holding one of the nations best offenses to just 44 points (EMU won 65-44) and a vomit-inducing 26 percent field goal percentage. Of course EMU's nasty zone defense played a huge rule in this, but so did Riley's ability to take two of the conference's best big men and turn them into ghosts. J.D. Weatherspoon and Nathan Boothe average a combined 21 points and 12 boards a game, but Saturday in Ypsi, they managed just six points and seven rebounds against EMU's big fella. Of course all seven of Riley's blocks didn't come against those two, but still, he was able to take them completely out of the game with his presence.

His strong week also upped his season average to three rejections a game, which currently has him at 18th in the nation. A few more clutch performances like this down the stretch and that MAC Defensive Player of the Year award is all his.

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