Notes from a packed MACsketball day:
OHIO 69, MIAMI 65 — The day began and ended as planned. 13,000 fans entered the Convocation Center. There was a victory against the rival. Gary Trent No. 20 jersey gets honored (and retired ... a reader corrected me on this). But there were three off-putting moments:
1. The video feed went down and the game was not televised.
—1a. And there don't appear to be any video highlights as a result.
2. Miami was not only in the game for much of the afternoon, but they had several minutes of a double-digit lead.
3. After the victory, OHIO fans stormed the court. Rival or not, Miami is 5-12.
As for Miami, momentum is fleeting. They led 37-31 at halftime and Brian Sullivan had a wonderful night, making threes and landing with 16 points. I said they needed his production to win, but Julian Mavunga was bottled up, taking only six shots, getting six points and 10 rebounds. He also didn't attempt a single free throw, while two of his teammates fouled out. OU salted the game away with free throws and that mighty mighty MAC crowd, which I've heard was the largest of the century so far (13,011).
They're not in first, but OHIO is situated nicely at 3-2, tied with Buffalo for second in the MAC East. And as expected, Miami falls to the bottom at 1-4.AKRON 84, KENT STATE 75 — Separate post.
BUFFALO 68, BOWLING GREEN 66 — Separate post.
WESTERN MICHIGAN 64, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 61 — I hope teams listen to this: games are easier when you don't have to mount a comeback. When CMU was down 11 points with 4:10 to play, Trey Zeigler and Austin Keel helped spark a 13-3 run in less than two minutes, but 64-61 — the score at the 2:21 mark — would hold steady until the clock expired.
Nate Hutcheson weathered the storm with 17 points and eight rebounds while Mike Douglas, Matt Stainbrook and Flenard Whitfield all hit the 10-point mark. Zeigler finished for CMU with a very sensible line of 19 points on 18 shots but didn't turn the ball over once. In fact were it not for WMU's 20 turnovers the Chippewas would've had no chance. (Central had just seven.)
And this game merely spaces out the middle of the West. WMU is at 3-2 in third place, CMU falls to 2-3 and fourth.
EASTERN MICHIGAN 41, TOLEDO 38 — Do you like points? Then skip to the next game, because this one might burn your eyes out! The halftime score was 15-14, and if you want to know who had what point total, because the point was that only 29 points TOTAL were scored in the first half of this game. As The MAC Daily pointed out, in every other game each team had at least 29 points on their own through 20 minutes.
But maybe the Eagles are used to this. Their last 41-38 victory was ... well, we don't have to go too far back. I was blogging about it. The Charles Ramsey-led Eagles topped CMU by that same score. And this game pretty much mirrored that one. Weak shooting by both parties, missed three-pointers, and enough turnovers to fill a semi-truck. Or at least one of those half-semi-trucks, which I guess is a quarter-truck.
But fortunately the game flew by as only 20 fouls were called and even though nobody for Eastern hit the double-digit mark, Jamell Harris had a nifty eight-point, seven-rebound, two-block game with no turnovers. In fact EMU had eight blocks, which can at least attribute to part of their defense. If only they could shoot. But who are we to judge — they're 4-1, tied for first in the entire MAC, and I'm not.
And there's even highlights for this. I'm not going to watch them but merely embed them for completion's sake. I wouldn't recommend watching them. I don't want to be responsible for your illness.
BALL STATE 75, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 65 — By the time this game rolled around I just didn't have the gumption to follow it. Too many close games and last-gasps. Even when NIU started inching back into the game I didn't have the faith that the Huskies were going to come all the way back and tie the game. And for once conventional logic worked well in sports blogging, otherwise I'd have been quite the fool. After being down 50-35 in the second half the out-manned Huskies rattled off 10 straight points, but being down by five was as close as they ever got. BSU's balanced front five was just too much in the end. Jarrod Jones finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and three blocks but Abdel Nader had a career night for the Huskies. The freshman racked up 26 points, four rebounds and four blocks of his own. Very Silasian.
And Ball State maintains pace with Eastern Michigan with a 4-1 mark headed into the interdivisional swing. NIU falls backward to 1-4.