Kent State 69, OHIO 66 — We may never know what happened the night Carlton Guyton was accused of stealing a car. All we know is that he's no longer charged with the felony that caused him to miss five games. He passed a polygraph and everything, then stepped right into the OHIO Convo and drained two clutch free throws in the final 30 seconds to give KSU the lead for good. Off the bench he had a keen nine points, three rebounds and three steals, but the free throws had to be vital to his psyche. I'm sure the whole criminal-charges-being-dropped was also a boost to himself.
It's also a boost for the entire Kent State team, and a boon for everyone else. KSU was 2-3 in his absence, and with that extra scorer and defender, they can pull out some road victories and beat teams like this to under 70 points.
Justin Greene owned the paint, finishing with 18 points and eight rebounds, while Sherman Rodriquez ended with 13 points including a key steal and layup in the waning seconds. The Flashes dominated the battle of the boards, as notated by a 54.5 OR%.
For the Bobcats, D.J. Cooper was his usual Nashian self: 17 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. DeVaughn Washington worked inside for 16 points, and Tommy Freeman was the perimeter threat, hitting four 3-pointers for 12 points. But they are now 1-2 in the MAC, while Kent State climbs to 2-1.
Ball State 64, Central Michigan 55 — Kinda hard to cause a seismic shift in the division when your best players keep getting hurt and/or in foul trouble. The Jalin Thomas injury was obviously devastating, because he was a man possessed, scoring 12 points in eight minutes ... just in the second half. He had 17 points before limping off the court, and that's when the Cardinals took advantage.
Ensuing the Thomas injury, CMU forwards William McClure and Andre Coimbra picked up four fouls, and they both eventually were slapped with fifths at the 4:08 and 3:33 marks, when the lead was just three.
Nobody for Ball State had a particularly amazing game — leaders in scoring were Jarrod Jones and Randy Davis with 10 each — but they were able to bruise the Chippewas and draw 28 fouls, which led to 42 FT attempts (compared to Central's 10), of which they made 30. Thirty, as it turns out, was also CMU's percentage (3-of-10? Eek. I know what they'll practice tomorrow.)
Trey Zeigler did all he could, but all he had in him was 21 points, six rebounds, and a couple steals/assists. This might be a wake-up game for Ball State. With 21 turnovers to their name, they easily coulda lost their first conference match. Instead, they're 3-0 and CMU falls to 1-2.
Northern Illinois 64, Toledo 54 — Obviously NIU is better than the worst team in the MAC, and this was signified by pulling away with a double-digit win. Xavier Silas put in a lazy day with "only" 20 points and Tim Toler was the second-option who scored 14, as well as finished with a couple blocks. Congrats; they're now 2-1 in the MAC and getting better.
But the only reason the game wasn't more of a blowout is that Malcolm Griffin had a banner day for Toledo. He actually outscored all his teammates 31-23. He also strangely led his team in assists (four) and was even more aggressive than usual. Typically when Griffin tries to create something, he's kicking out or getting hacked or turning it over. But this time he finished through with his moves and took some jumpers and actually made some of his runners. That's refreshing to see, because now defenders actually have to take him seriously, rather than wait for him to pass it to someone (or, sometimes, nobody!) and get a defensive stop.
But for UT, their road losing streak is now at 41 and they fall to 0-3 in the conference.
Today's MAC Games:
2 p.m. — Miami at Bowling Green (TV: BCSN)
2 p.m. — Akron at Buffalo (TV: SportsTime Ohio, ESPN3)
2 p.m. — Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan