It cannot be a coincidence that when Kent State pounded BG and NIU escaped with a victory over EMU, that the resultant conference records on 1/11/11 were 1-1, 1-1, 1-1, and 1-1. This means something. John Nash will find the pattern.
Kent State 80, Bowling Green 63 — It's pretty obvious that The Mid-Majority was just screwing with the Falcons ... or that there just wasn't plum any other tantalizing match-up when he dubbed this the Game! Of! The! Night! Or perhaps he loves zeroing in on blowouts every once in a while, because fresh off a loss to Akron, the Golden Flashes just pounded BG into the ground from the get-go. Other than an 0-2 deficit to start the game, Kent State routinely held a double-digit lead for much of the game. The Falcons' only real SUUUUUURGE same in the second half on a 12-0 run, but that still put them within 10 points. Shows how just how bad it was for the orange and brown.
Every Kent State starter finished with double-digit points. Michael Porrini had twice that, with 21 to go with eight points and eight rebounds. But coach Geno Ford pointed out two other starters:
I thought Randal Holt had his best game of the year.
Justin Manns had the best game of his life.
Yep, the Falcons know how to make their opponent the best they can be. Holt had 11 points/four assists, while Manns scored 10 and brought home nine rebounds.
At least the Falcons had Apostrophe Power on their side. A'uston Calhoun led the visitors with 17 points off the bench, but coach Louis Orr pointed out that the team had 12 turnovers in as many minutes to start the game. Well, that explains the large hole they began in. But to their credit, for the final 28 minutes they only had a single turnover.
Kent State also found themselves at the free throw line a bunch. This was key: 19-of-26 to BG's 5-of-6. Percentage is nothing when the quantity isn't there. The Falcons commited 20 fouls to KSU's eight.
Northern Illinois 71, Eastern Michigan 69 — Go tell it on the mountaintop. Road games are hard things to win in the conference. They're difficult nonetheless, but assume nothing against anyone. Especially EMU. They destroyed Toledo on Saturday, and without a doubt they were at their best. Well ... NIU probably had their most inspired half of basketball before halftime, shooting 65% from the field and drumming up a 13-point lead. That was great! That's not necessarily enough.
This means that, yes, the Eagles played their favorite game — Shoot Everything Behind The Arc And See What Sticks — and it almost worked. A 16-point Huskie lead became seven in slightly over two minutes thanks, to a barrage of threes. Pretty soon Eastern was right back in the game, but they never could so much as tie Northern in the waning minutes. The Eagles attempted 32 threes and 20 "twos."
And while ones and 11s dominated the day, perhaps on an icy, snowy day in Ypsilanti it was really a Baskin-Robbins type game in the Convo. Each team's leading scorer finished for 31. For NIU it was, you guessed it, Xavier Silas, who despite seven turnovers connected on all six 3-point attempts and came up with a couple steals. You might have to guess a couple times for EMU's leading scorer — Brandon Bowdry only finished with 16 — but it was another man with a career night and some blistering efficiency. Derek Thompson was 8-for-10 from the 3-point line, as well as 7-for-7 from the line. When you're on, you're on. Pity it wasn't enough.
Today's MAC games:
7:00 p.m. — OHIO at Akron
7:00 p.m. — Toledo at Central Michigan
7:30 p.m. — Western Michigan at Ball State (TV: SportsTime Ohio)