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MAC Basketball Review: Pop Goes The Bubble

AKRON 68, OHIO 63 — On the nationally-televised game, it looked like the momentum was won and lost by Alex Abreu's three-point shot which gave the Zips their first second-half lead. But! If you look at how the game finished, it looked like a ton of foul calls and high tempers may have decided this for Akron. OHIO had four men foul out and D.J. Cooper took some wild shots at the end, not allowing the Bobcats to get this road victory to finish either.

The best moment had to be Cooper exchanging rather unpleasant words with Zeke Marshall, 13 inches his superior. Marshall would end up fouling out on a double-technical but not before registering 17 points, six rebounds and three blocks. Cooper's shooting day was worse than usual, even for him: 2-for-15 but he made free throws to lead the team with 13 points.

And you can probably kiss OHIO's bubble chances goodbye. They're just 13-4 but a dismal 1-2 in MAC play, both narrow losses on the road. And look. Kent State is coming up next for them.

Meanwhile, Akron's playing great at the right time. They're the only 3-0 team in the MAC right now.

KENT STATE 92, BOWLING GREEN 87 — Hope ya like points! Both teams shot incredibly well, and KSU's 18-point lead was one that could not be overcome. BGSU got it to within six points at one point, and they threw in a total of 60 points in the second half, but KSU eventually staved off the rally with a strong finish by everybody. Justin Greene poured in a cool 23 points. Michael Porrini was next-best with 19 points, Randal Hold shot well from three to get 17 points and Chris Evans was on the beneficiary end of some sweet dunks to finish with 14.

As for Scott Thomas, his new No. 13 uniform worked out well (as his No. 10 jersey was wrecked on the trip as his bag fell from the bus) as he also hit the 23-point mark and brought down eight rebounds. Torian Oglesby did his garbage man thing with 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Dee Brown shot for 12 points.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS 74, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 66 — They did it ... Part II! NIU got their first win of the year over an NAIA school, but this one no-foolin' counts. It's Mark Montgomery's first coaching win over a Division I team. NIU had a huge lead for much of the game but no matter what they did they were unable to give the game away. The hero of the day is freshman Abdel Nader who led the Huskies with 22 points before fouling out. Stian Berg was a deadly 4-for-4 on threes, accounting for all his 12 points. CMU's top scorer was Trey Zeigler, who led with 18 points on 15 shots and Derek Jackson accounted for 16 points.

Maybe it was a combination of bad defense and hot shooting but NIU's 70.0 eFG% was the second-best mark by a MAC team ALL SEASON. (OHIO hit a 70.2 eFG% against Wright State). Yeah. You just can't overcome that no matter what.

MIAMI 52, BUFFALO 51 — It was just a day for teams getting their first win. MU is on the board in the MAC East by slugging it out against another physical team. Julian Mavunga, Quinten Rollins and Brian Sullivan all played for the full 40 minutes but Mavunga's eight points paled in comparison to the 17 landed by Sullivan, helped in part by tremendous 5-for-9 shooting on threes.

Buffalo's chance to take a dagger-esque lead in the final minute was taken away as a Jarod Oldham pass to Zach Filzen occurred a split-second after Oldham stepped out of bounds. Filzen drained the three but it didn't matter. Javon McCrea led the team with 16 points while Mitchell Watt had a nice 15-point, 10-rebound day. Both teams are now 1-2 in the conference.

WESTERN MICHIGAN 74, TOLEDO 52 — A bit of a rout, don't you think? WMU remains perfect at home on the heels of Flenard Whitfield's 19 points and Matt Stainbrook's double-double: 13 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

Meanwhile ... meet the new Rockets, same as the old Rockets. A bunch of non-conference wins haven't helped them all that much as they're now 0-3 in the conference, good for sole possession of 12th place. Good efforts by UT's top two terrific transfers: Juice Brown finished with 17 points and Rian Pearson got 15. Overall the Broncos outrebounded them 47-22.

There were no packaged video highlights available for this game. Perhaps a member of the Blue Crew hacked into the system. Smart man.

EASTERN MICHIGAN 51, BALL STATE 48 — EMU doesn't like these high-scoring affairs and doesn't understand why anyone on earth would want to score over 60 points. What's the point with 51 is plenty of offense? EMU is a curious 2-1 in the conference with a narrow road victory. Thank Quintin Dailey with a stellar 13 points on five shots; he also had three steals.

And I'm not sure how Ball State loses this and can still consider themselves a heavy favorite to win the MAC West. Maybe it was just a bad day. Jarrod Jones sure had a bad one; just 11 points and 11 rebounds.