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MAC Basketball Review: Flawless Victory

Notes in today's MAC basketball games, starting with the ladies. The conference went 7-0 today, including some major wins:

CMU 75, #12 Purdue 62 — Always gratifying to see the Big Ten teams approach MAC venues. It's more prevalent in the women's ranks but we're not picky here. It looked like the Boilermakers would roll in McGuirk Arena with 14:24 to play as free throws made it a 12-point game, but CMU finished the game on a 41-16 run from there on out. Brandie Baker finished with 16 points, all in the final 14:15. She also had 10 rebounds and four assists. Freshmen guards Crystal Bradford and Jessica Green each added 14 points apiece.

It's certainly a bad loss for Purdue given that it was only CMU's second win on the year, but let's not forget that the Chips were one of the fastest-paced teams last year, averaging about 81 possessions a game. This one had 77, and with the frenetic action it helps them erase deficits quickly. They went from down a dozen to up two points in less than six minutes. They're a young team and still trying to replace seniors Shonda Long and Kahlie Szunko, who accounted for 32 points per game. The freshmen are doing much of the scoring but Baker has had two nice games in a row after a rough start. Let's see if this team can't make waves in conference play.

And while this probably had no bearing on the motivation to win, CMU has indirectly avenged the three MAC men's teams who lost terribly to Purdue this season.

EMU 77, Michigan 64 — The Wolverines were also no slouch, coming into Ypsi a plush 9-1 and ranked 26th in both polls. The Eagles put another end to that as they beat them for the second time this calendar year, the first being in the first round of the WNIT. It was another Tavelyn James show as she finished with 38 points on 10-of-21 shooting and 13-of-14 on free throws. Some days you just need to hand it to your star and let her take over. Olivia Fouty played the role of super sidekick with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Outstanding resume win for the green and white as they're also going to factor in the MAC, naturally, but they could be seeking out an at-large berth.

BGSU 83, Jacksonville 55 — The winless Dolphins were overmatched, but their mascot is the Dolphins and that's pretty neat. The story again was the defense which took away most of the easy shots. Four Falcons finished with double-figure points, led by Danielle Havel with 13.

OHIO 63, San Francisco 53 — A menacing four-game skid has been broken thanks mostly to offensive rebounding and the fast that USF just isn't that good a team (now 1-10). Tenishia Benson and Shavon Robinson each had 15 points.

NIU 73, Chicago State 40 — Really not a fair fight either. NIU just kept going inside and really racked up the high-percentage shots, going 61% from the field. Freshman Claire Jakubicek led the Huskies with 21 points (10-of-12 shooting) and eight rebounds.

Ball State 59, Austin Peay 55 — Yes, women can be governor too these days. They just can't go to Indiana and win, even though an adequate fight was brought. The difference was Brittany Carter who sank four threes en route to 17 points, while Suzanne Grossnickle chipped in 14 points and 11 rebounds.

And the one men's game:

WMU 54, Southern Illinois 43 — Hey, they did it! They finally notched a Division I victory! It wasn't the prettiest of games, and while SIU became a mid-major name in the last decade, they're also a struggling program who hasn't had a winning season since 2007-08. This was a game dictated by poor shooting but the Broncos were the ones more aggressive around the backboard and came up with 15 offensive rebounds. David Brown, out of nowhere, came up with five of those ORs and also finished with a double-double, netting 11 points and 12 total rebounds. Demetrius Ward led everybody with 16 points and also came up with three steals. They're now 2-7 on the year and the record may not be pristine, but it's all about being ready for the conference season.

No games today. Tuesday's lone men's game:

9:00 p.m. — CMU at Minneapolis (ESPN/ESPN3)

Tuesday's women's games:

7:00 p.m. — Wright State at Miami
7:00 p.m. — Niagara at OHIO