Last night in MACsketball:
Central Michigan 63, Cornerstone 60 (highlights) — Don't ask me why I'm so enamored with this game. Cornerstone University is a small Christian school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and their basketball team was 13-1 going into this game with a #3 ranking in the NAIA Division II poll. I don't know how prestigious that is, but you'd imagine that simply being Division I would mean an easy victory no matter the ranking in other collegiate organizations. Yeah, that didn't happen.
This game was tied through 33 minutes and Cornerstone actually snuck in a second-half lead somewhere in there. The Chippewas never mustered a double-digit lead. And judging by the highlights, CU played some rather tough defense that forced a lot of jump shots. The rest was brute-force talent that got a couple extra shots.
So if basketball games were judged by critics who sit at a table and take notes, you'd probably conclude that Cornerstone won the game on this day. And that's about right. It's about time to admit that Central Michigan's in trouble, and they may no longer be in the MAC West scepter until further notice. CMU's next game: Thursday, 12/30 at UNLV
Temple 76, OHIO 65 — Well, the Owls got their football revenge. The pace was fun enough (121 combined shots) but OHIO couldn't defend the three, and TU took advantage by making 8-for-19 from such a distance. DeVaughn Washington led the game with 20 points, and D.J. Cooper had some more silly numbers with 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists. Cooper remains among the five best assist men in the country. His team is also among the top five MAC Favorites Who Have The Most Puzzling Record. It's a narrow category, really. But so far their most quality win is at home against Valparaiso. Yeah, Toledo did that too. OHIO's next game: Thursday, 12/30 vs. Norfolk State
Akron 72, Stetson 56 — Always bet on 3 in Vegas. Or is it seven? Nevermind; the Zips sank 14 threes on 29 shots, and that was basically the difference. The key shooters were Steve McNees, Brett McClanahan, and Alex Abreu, who accounted for 10 of those treys. Stetson, other than having a great nickname of the Hatters, has a player named Steve Forbes. Flat taxes for everyone! Akron's next game: Today vs. Miami of Florida
Bowling Green 70, Manhattan 57 — You can thank 15 Falcons steals and a systematic disruptive force on defense for BGSU jumping on the visiting Jaspers early. Luke Kraus gave 'em hell with 15 points, tops for the home team, and Scott Thomas did a skosh of everything with eight points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and four steals. Bowling Green's next game: Thursday, 12/30 vs. Texas San Antonio
Southern Illinois 61, Northern Illinois 49 — Illinois is a tall, tall state, so it's natural that the top and bottom of the state clash in this game. It's easier to bisect the state that way. But it's also easier for SIU to just shut down Xavier Silas and cruise to a double-digit victory. Silas finished with just 11 points on 3-of-19 shooting. On a better shooting night, Jeremy Landers finished with 10. Northern Illinois' next game: Monday, 11/27 at Missouri
Utah State 78, Western Michigan 57 — What's important is they tried. They were also hangin' tough for a half before USU, the emperors of the WAC, pulled away and left little behind. Getting whistled for 29 fouls, depending on your vantage point, was either favorable home refs or a plum-tuckered out Broncos team not responding well to that overtime loss. Nate Hutcheson did the best of the bunch with 12 points and six rebounds. Just go back to sleep, boys. Western Michigan's next game: Today vs. Idaho State
3:00 p.m. — Akron vs. Miami of Florida in Las Vegas
7:30 p.m — Western Michigan vs. Idaho State in Logan, Utah