Last night in MACsketball:
OHIO 79, Akron 70 — Maybe road games were just what they needed. Coming in, playing in the JAR was looking like another win for the Zips to solidify their foothold on the division, but this was important for OHIO to win — especially since they, y'know, beat 'em for the championship last season — as they're now on the board in the conference. They came out strong and never looked back, as signified by that 37-21 halftime score. And, man ... if I had a nickel for every D.J. Cooper dime. I'd have ... well, 80 cents. Not a lot, but almost enough for something out of the machine! His 15 assists went with 13 points and eight rebounds as those passes mostly went to open 3-point shooters. Famous son Nick Kellogg led the way with 23 points, powered by six threes. Yes, Tommy Freeman also had a plethora: shooting 5-of-8 from long distance helped him finish with 16.
Not much to write home about for the home team, though. Steve McNees had a decent night to end up with 15 points, but that was their only double-digit shooter. As a team they took care of business at the free throw line (17-for-23) but when the clock was moving, that was one of their problems (23-for-62, 37.1%). The other was that OHIO was over 52 percent from just about every spot on the court.
Ball State 72, Western Michigan 63 — Best team in the league? Second best? It doesn't matter for now; the Cardinals are 2-0, and only one of two teams who haven't lost in the division yet (Miami is 1-0). Despite a mostly-quiet performance from Jarrod Jones (12 points, four rebounds), guard play came through. Jesse Berry went off for 15 points (4-for-5 on three pointers) and Jauwan Scaife made the most of his free throws 7-for-8) to land with 14 points.
The bad news for the Broncos kept coming in the first half, even before BSU went on its run: a couple injuries to Juwan Howard Jr. and David Brown left them shorthanded for the game. However, Matt Stainbrook did have a double-double (14 and 10) while Flenard Whitfield led the team with 15 points. But now they're down to 1-1 in the conference.
Central Michigan 65, Toledo 52 — How's that for home cooking? Bring in the conference whipping boy and give your fab freshman some confidence. Trey Zeigler had a career night, going off for 30 points and a factorial ampler platter of everything else (four rebounds, three assists, two blocks, one steal). There was no answer for him, and that 12-for-21 field goal percentage looks mighty strong. Jalin Thomas secured the perimeter with 11 rebounds to go with his 15 points. Amir Rashid added in seven assists, many to you-know-whom. And with that, their first conference win is in the books.
So that makes it 40 straight losses on the road for the Rockets, worst in Division I. The last time they did win away from Savage was at Central Michigan, but that was a different building altogether. Reese Holliday was the top scorer with 14 points (but on 4-of-12 shooting, nothing beyond the arc) and also led the team with six rebounds on a night where CMU was tops on the boards (34-21). Anthony Wright drilled four threes off the bench to finish with 12 points, but that was about it for the team. Let's defer to Tod Kowalczyk's wisdom for the moment: "It's just a matter of good teams win on the road and we are not a good team right now. That's just what it is. It's got nothing to do with the road or home."
Today's lone basketball game:
7 p.m. — Buffalo at Miami